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Shelter for LGBT youth set to open in Midtown Sacramento

The shelter will hold 12 beds and will cater primarily to “transitional-aged” youths, characterized as those between the ages of 18 and 24.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Employees with the Sacramento LGBT Center say they're just a couple weeks away from opening the Short-term Transitional Emergency Program (STEP) Shelter in Midtown. 

It will serve LGBT youth in the community who find themselves facing homelessness.

Pixie Pearl is the assistant director of housing. The numbers of homeless LGBT youth are staggering, Pearl said.

RELATED: Sacramento's first-ever LGBTQ homeless shelter planned in Midtown

"We know that 40 percent of youth facing homelessness identify as LGBTQ, and that family rejection and things like that are the reason they're experiencing homelessness," explained Pearl.

To combat this, the center assembled funding from the California Office of Emergency Services through the governor's office and the Homeless Emergency Assistance Program (HEAP) through the city, as well as many private donors. Now, the facility is just weeks away from opening. It will be a 12-bed home where youth will be able to stay for 90 days.

Many of the people involved in the project, like Krystal Peak, the community engagement and marketing specialist for the LGBT Center, say the project is personal.

"So many of my friends and family faced rejection whether it was family or community or religious organizations," said Peak. "And to have a place in Sacramento where that's the common denominator, that everyone's a part of the community and welcoming and really creating space, that means a lot to me."

READ ALSO: Supreme Court to decide if LGBT employees protected under anti-discrimination law

This is also true for the future victims' services case manager for the shelter, Moe Copeland. He'll help LGBT youth find jobs and connect to the larger Sacramento community.

"I wanted to be involved in this program because I was a youth that also experienced homelessness when I was a lot younger," Copeland explained. "And without the folks who kind of pushed and pulled me along, I wouldn't know where I would be."

Copeland said he plans to use his experience to help guide the youth in the shelter. The facility, located at P Street and 21st Street, is set to open in a few weeks.

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