One of North Carolina’s chief advocates for lesbian, gay and transgender youths has purchased a Monroe Road building to be its first permanent home and the eventual site of a shelter for LGBTQ youths kicked out by their families.
Time Out Youth, founded 25 years ago, says renovations at 3800 Monroe Road will start this month, with plans for a grand opening on April 9.
The 7,400-square-foot building includes a plot of land where the new 10-bed shelter is planned. Construction will start in 2019 and be complete in 2020, creating the city’s first shelter space devoted to homeless LGBTQ youths. The property is already zoned for both current use and future shelter plans, officials said.
Time Out Youth Board Chairman Michael Condel said news of the purchase is being combined with the unveiling of a five-year campaign to raise $3.4 million for the land purchase, building renovation and construction of the shelter. The building sits near the intersection of Monroe and Eastway/Wendover.
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The agency paid $875,000 for the new site at a time when program attendance at its current North Davidson Street center has nearly doubled in just 12 months.
That jump is credited in part to publicity surrounding North Carolina’s controversial anti-gay law House Bill 2. The law, passed last year by the state, prevents municipalities from adopting laws that give civil rights protections to LGBT people. An attempt to repeal the law failed in December.
“The center is here to stay,” said Condel, in a statement. “We were already outgrowing our North Davidson Street space, and with the attention that HB2 received in the state and national press during the past year, there were increased demands for services from youth, parents, educators and allies.”
The capital campaign also intends to raise money for establishing an endowment fund through the Foundation for the Carolinas that will secure the agency’s financial stability, officials said.
Time Out Youth exists to offer a safe gathering place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth between the ages of 11 and 20.
It has operated a fledgling housing initiative in recent years that places homeless LGBTQ youths with volunteer hosts. However, only 10 youths a year can be housed, due to lack of space. Construction of the shelter will remedy that problem, officials said.
Time Out Youth has been located for the past three years at a site on North Davidson, where it will remain through March, officials said. The agency operates on a $550,000 annual budget, with six full-time staff, three part-time staff, more than 100 volunteers.
How to help
To donate to the Time Out Youth campaign, visit www.timeoutyouth.org/ and click on “Donate Now.” To mail a check, send to: Time Out Youth, 2320 North Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28205. Put “For Capital Campaign” in memo line.