The LGBT RAIN Foundation will support a brand-new shelter for LGBT homeless youth in Essex County later this year. The shelter will be only the second in New Jersey for LGBT youth in crisis.The first fundraising appreciation dinner will be on Saturday, April 26, at Chateau of Spain in Newark at 6pm.
RAIN stands for “Reaching Adolescents In Need.” The organization focus is, “emergency shelter services to address the emergent need of LGBT individuals 18-24 experiencing crisis leading to homelessness,” say board members.
The foundation board members will be honoring key supporters in the community that have helped the agency since it launched last July. Chateau of Spain is located at 11 Franklin Street in Newark and tickets are $40 and will include the program, dinner, a live DJ and a silent auction.
Honorees include Amir Hashemi of CCI, Councilwoman Andrea McPhatter of East Orange, Brian McGovern of New Jersey Community Resource Initiative, and Elaine Helms the Essex County RAIN Foundation founder. The night includes a very special recognition by Assemblyman Tim Eustace who is an openly-gay member of the state legislature. he will present a resolution to Elaine Helms.
“I commend Elaine for her efforts in establishing North Jersey’s first housing program dedicated to support LGBT adolescents in need of housing and stabilization services. We must continue to support housing initiatives for our at-risk populations, especially those with nowhere else to turn.” said Eustace.
In a recent report done by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, it was found that Essex County has the highest percentage of homeless residents in New Jersey. The total homeless during this count was 11,818 but it is estimated that over the course of a year there is a total of 25,612 homeless in the state. During the count 6.9 percent represent ages 18-20 while 6.5 percent represent ages 21-24. More information can be found at www.CSH.org.
“I founded this organization to help the LGBT community by providing safe, supportive housing. Everyone should have the right to a safe and secure place to live, not all families are [as] accepting as mine and even they had to grow to accept my sexual orientation” says Elaine Helms. “Through purposeful collaborative programming via partnerships, we will work together to ensure that the LGBT youth receive services that [will] lead to stability and self sufficiency.”
“Since August 2013, several fundraising campaigns have begun with the goal of raising money and awareness of the LGBT homeless housing cause.” says board chair Tamara A. Fleming. “Awareness is the key and can be done through cultural competency training to educators, healthcare providers, social workers, and employers as well as the general public.”
To purchase tickets, make donations, inquire about joining the board or to volunteer, you can contact the Essex County LGBT RAIN Foundation at 732-707-RAIN (7246) or online at www.EssexLGBThousing.org. THe website link for tickets is http://essexlgbthousing.org/fundraising-dinner/.