The nation’s first shelter for LGBT adults opens today in the Mission, marking the realization of a project that has been in the pipeline since 2010.
Jazzie’s Place, named in honor of deceased transgender community activist Jazzie Collins, will offer 24 beds and operate under the auspices of Dolores Street Community Services. The Chronicle reports that residents can stay in the shelter for up to three months and choose to live among males, females, or those who are gender nonconforming.
Per the Chronicle, a 2013 city survey found that 29 percent of the city’s estimated 6,400 homeless self-identify as LGBT. This community often encounters discrimination and violence in general population shelters, which is what spurred the idea for Jazzie’s Place among the Board of Supervisors in 2010.
Bevan Dufty, the city’s “homeless czar,” attended today’s grand opening along with Supervisor David Campos and former Supervisor and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
Jazzie’s Place is considered the first LGBT adult shelter in the country, although specialized housing and social service programs do exist in other cities. Translife Center in Chicago, for example, opened in 2013 and offers a 9-unit residential facility for transgender people.
According to the Chronicle, Jazzie’s Place cost $1.5 million to build and was funded by a mix of private and public money. The city contributed $1 million.