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First-of-its kind LGBT homeless shelter opens in Hillcrest

LGBT homeless shelter opens in Hillcrest.

The LGBT homeless youth have a place to go in Hillcrest thanks to the Interfaith Shelter Network (ISN). This first-ever LGBT shelter which contains 12 beds opened two weeks ago and according to CBS 8, already has 10 guests. 

For privacy reasons the location of the building is a secret, but it is open seven nights a week. 

The shelter recently received a $100,000 grant from the Cushman Foundation. The Hillcrest branch is the eighth one in the county and has partnered with seven churches.

All of the shelters in the ISN network welcome LGBT folks, but the one in Hillcrest is the first to focus exclusively on the gay community.

Abigail Shrestha, rotational shelter program manager said, “There’s a very large population of LGBT people in Hillcrest who often times are uncomfortable approaching other branches."

Participants are situationally homeless, and are not walk-ins but are referred by Family Health Center and the LGBT Community Center.

After two weeks at the shelter, the men and women, working with case managers, are moved to various undisclosed congregations around the county where they can stay for up to 12 weeks. 

The Executive Director of San Diego Pride, Fernando Lopez, told the San Diego Union-Tribune, that the program is beneficial for those who are rejected by their families for being gay. 

“Having an intentional space that has compassion toward your identity is so vital to the health and success of LGBT folks who are experiencing homelessness," he said. 

San Diego Youth Services reports that approximately 25-percent of LGBT youth are rejected by their parents which leads them to leave home and live on the streets.  

To support the Interfaith Shelter Network, a non-profit organization, can be made by clicking HERE.