OUTMemphis thanks Ikea for providing apartment essentials to the first group of LGBTQ young adults in the Metamorphosis Project rapid rehousing program!

The rapid rehousing program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allows OUTMemphis to place LGBTQ adults ages 18-24 from homelessness into apartments and to provide them with the support necessary to move toward self-sufficiency. While this funding helps to pay for moving costs, rental assistance, and wrap around supportive services, it does not pay for furniture. Many of these young adults have what they are able to carry and little else. Ikea has donated thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture to help make these first apartments the homes that these young people need.

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OUTMemphis Thanks Ikea for Supporting Homeless Youth

Ikea Donates Furnishings for the First Group of Adults in the Metamorphosis Project Rapid Rehousing Program

Memphis, TN, November 5, 2017:  OUTMemphis is proud to thank Ikea for its support of the LGBTQ homeless young adults in the Metamorphosis Project’s rapid rehousing program. The rapid rehousing program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allows OUTMemphis to move LGBTQ adults ages 18-24 from homelessness into apartments and to provide them with the support necessary to move toward self-sufficiency. Each apartment will be fitted with remote surveillance equipment including security cameras, and each tenant will be provided with a live video snapshot of their surveillance feeds.

While the grant funding allows OUTMemphis to provide rental assistance, utility assistance, pay moving costs, and provide wrap-around supportive services, it does not pay for furniture. Many of these young adults bring what they could carry, but rarely a bed. Ikea has donated thousands of dollars’ worth of furniture to help make these first apartments into homes for these young people, as well as backpacks full of supplies for other LGBTQ young adults served by OUTMemphis.

Throughout the 28-year history of OUTMemphis (formerly Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center), the board, staff, and volunteers have responded to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth — especially those of young people living on the street or in unstable housing conditions. These LGBTQ young people have slept on our couches, on our deck, and in our backyard. They come looking for food, shelter, a sense of belonging, and sometimes a surrogate family. Many of them are kicked out of their homes by parents who don’t want them to be LGBTQ. We call it “getting kicked out when you come out.” Family rejection is the number one reason nationally for young LGBTQ people living on the streets.

The rapid rehousing project at OUTMemphis is in its first year, and has already assisted14 young adults to move from homelessness to stable housing. Over the next year, these adults will have access to case management and supportive services designed to help them transition from rental assistance to independence. Ikea’s support has helped to get these young adults off to the best possible start.

Rapid rehousing is only one way that OUTMemphis supports LGBTQ young adults experiencing (or at risk for) homelessness. The Metamorphosis Project includes Emergency Services (ex: food pantry, clothes closet, transportation assistance, case management), referral to emergency housing, and rapid rehousing. OUTMemphis is preparing for the next phase of this project: opening the Metamorphosis Project Youth Services Center. When complete, the Youth Services Center will provide drop-in space during the day, a wide range of on-site supportive services, and transitional shelter for LGBTQ young adults waiting on more permanent housing.

When open, The Metamorphosis Project Youth Services Center will be the only homeless shelter in Memphis designed around the unique needs of young people.

OUTMemphis is grateful for this partnership with Ikea and appreciative of their demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community.

Two of the 14 young adults in the rapid rehousing program took part in MLK 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To watch their stories, click here.

For more information about the Metamorphosis Project Rapid Rehousing Program, please contact Stephanie Reyes, Youth Services Director.

For more information about how you can contribute to the Metamorphosis Project, please contact Will Batts, Executive Director.

OUTMemphis Mission: OUTMemphis empowers, connects, educates and advocates for the LGBTQ community of the Mid-South.

OUTMemphis Vision: LGBTQ individuals live in a world where everyone has equal rights, and is safe, respected and celebrated.