A first of its kind shelter space for Manitoba is getting set to open its doors on Thursday.
The Salvation Army Booth Centre has taken one of their transitional spaces and converted it in to a safe spot for the homeless LGBTQ community to turn to when they feel they have no where else to go.
On Thursday, the shelter space that has 15 rooms inside Salvation Army Booth Centre designated solely for the LGBTQ homeless community, will open its doors and be the first Salvation Army Canada location to do so.
The most recent group to use the space were the influx of asylum seekers that were making their way in to Manitoba with nowhere else to go.
“We know that about 23 per cent of those in Winnipeg that are homeless youth, that’s 18-29 years old, identify themselves as being part of the LGBTQ community,” Major Rob Kerr with The Salvation Army said.
Kerr said he believes there’s a need in the community and he hopes this space will address that need and motivate other shelters to follow suit.
“If they’re not comfortable going in to the regular shelter, they might find somewhere that’s not safe to be,” Kerr said.
Jacqueline Stewart and Tia Parmeter used to live at Salvation Army.
While they no longer do, they said they know having that space would have meant the world to them when they lived there.
“This will save lives. I really truly believe that this place will save lives,” Parmeter said.
Stewart said it’s important for the LGBTQ community to have somewhere they feel safe to come home to when they’re homeless.
“This is needed. Like it’s not just a roof over your head. It’s people who are with you who are going through the same thing who want to be together to fix things,” Stewart said.