Group in need of funds to provide housing for homeless LGBT youth

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Up to 40 percent of youth on the street in Memphis are part of the LGBT community.

OUT Memphis still needs the funds to provide youth housing a year later.

It's a project that has been in the works for a while, but not they are at the stage where they are looking for a solid foundation to make it a reality.

A lot on Southern Avenue is set to become the place where LGBT teens will be able to get help finding a place to live.

"We are one of the only LGBT community centers of our size for almost 200 miles in every direction," Youth Services Manager Stephanie Reyes with OUT Memphis said.

OUT Memphis said the need for a safe and accepting place is great in the city of Memphis.

"I've experienced a lot of youth who come to me right after their 18th birthday because their parents decided, 'You're 18. Now I don't legally have to take care of you anymore, and I don't agree with who you are,'" Reyes said.

OUT Memphis has conditional approval from the city to build the shelter in Midtown.

The shelter will incorporate old shipping containers in the design.

A permitting board also told the group to make adjustments, like covering up the exposed metal and adding a porch since the area is zoned residential.

The facility could house four youth while staff members work to help the 18-24-year-olds come up with a permanent place to live.

"We need a solution, and right now there isn't really a good one for our youth," Reyes said.

The cost is roughly $250,000. OUT Memphis has raised about one-third of that and applied for grants.

But, the timeline for completion depends on how fast they can get the funds.

"If we had someone drop $200,000 in our pocket, we'd do it tomorrow," Reyes said.

For more information on how you can help or donate, contact Reyes at:

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