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City’s First Center For Homeless LGBT Youth Has Opening Delayed

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
When the shelter is operational it will be hosted at Travis Park United Methodist Church

 A homeless shelter for LGBT youth is nearly ready and was slated to open downtown this November. However, city zoning issues have forced it to push back matters to next year.

Around 40 percent of the country’s 1.6 million homeless youth identify as being LGBT, according to a 2012 Williams Institute study. The Thrive Youth Center, which is in the process of becoming a nonprofit, is aiming to open the city’s first shelter for LGBT Youth; specifically between the ages of 17 to 24.

Sandra Whitley, the center’s Executive Director, said the goal was to provide a way to get them off the street. “Second of all, [we want them] to know that there are people out here that do care and want them to succeed, and will help them in any way needed.”

The center aims to provide services like a day center and overnight shelter two days per week; but additional volunteers may allow them to operate the full seven days  “There’ll be three people there to supervise them overnight and then we’ll provide them with breakfast packets in the morning,” said Whitely.

The day center will offer access to GED and other programs. The shelter was slated to open on Nov. 18, under the Travis Park United Methodist Church, but was delayed due to a city zoning designation. The church needs a special authorization to host a shelter. An application for the designation has been submitted and it is likely to be taken up by the zoning commission this month and the city council in January. 

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules