A Haven For Hope, Where Homeless LGBT Youth Can Thrive | Texas Public Radio

A Haven For Hope, Where Homeless LGBT Youth Can Thrive

Mar 2, 2015

After nearly three months of a temporary home, the Thrive Youth Center for homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals now has a permanent location. After two long months of negotiations, the shelter has entered into a partnership with Haven for Hope.

Originally, the Thrive Youth Center had plans to open its doors to young LGBT people aged 18-25 at the Travis Park United Methodist Church in Nov. 2014. However, zoning issues forced it to look for a different location. Now, following negotiations with Haven for Hope here in San Antonio, Thrive has its own quarters on the Haven campus.

Thrive Executive Director Sandra Whitley said Haven has changed its intake process since Thrive came on board, asking new applicants if they required LGBT services. “And if they check yes, then they call one of us over at our office and we come over and talk to the person and see if they’ll be a fit for our program.”

At the moment, Thrive has eight beds in a large room, and five separate rooms for transgender individuals, each with two beds. There is a plan to add eight more beds in the future.

Thrive’s initial mission —getting people back on their feet — is being upheld through Haven’s programs. “The services that we were going to offer, the GED program; the career counseling; the job placement, all those things are now located 25 feet from our door,” said Whitley.

Scott Ackerson, a Vice President for Haven for Hope, said they also found space for certain individuals who did not meet Thrive’s 18-25 age group criteria. “We’ve got the capacity to serve an additional 10 LGBT individuals that don’t necessarily fit within Thrive’s target population,” said Ackerson.

Thrive, by using Haven, will have to pay for some associated costs, but their lease on the site will be a very affordable $1 per year.