A long-term group home for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) youth has opened in Saskatoon.
Organized by OUTSaskatoon, the facility provides a safe place for youth, aged 16 to 21, to live if they’ve been kicked out of their home and supports them for exactly who they are.
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Once fully operational, Pride Home will have space for five youth and two full-time staff, including a live-in support mentor.
According to OUTSaskatoon, one-third of youth accessing shelters in the city are members of the LGBTQ community and 40 per cent of the non-profit organization’s youth group have experienced homelessness or precarious housing.
“The reason that we started looking into creating Pride Home was because of stories that we heard both from older folks that access our services and from the youth … who said that people are still getting kicked out when they come out,” OUTSaskatoon executive director Rachel Loewen Walker said.
“The second reason that we looked into this is that the available youth housing in the city if often gendered and so it’s really important to have a space that’s not gendered and that’s not a boys’ home or a girls’ home but is gender-inclusive.”
Loewen Walker said they know already there’s greater need and could have more homes down the road.
“If you think about those critical years of growing up, being a teenager is hard enough as it is. Imagine coming out at the same time, imagine transitioning at the same time, imagine not being accepted by your community – so to not have a place that you get to go to that’s safe and welcoming at home … that speaks for itself.”
In the coming weeks, OUTSaskatoon is launching a community fundraising campaign to cover operations and programming for Pride Home.
Two of five rooms in the home are currently occupied.