Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony along Washington Street in Chinatown marked the grand reveal of a first for the city: A transitional housing project aimed at helping transgender and gender non-conforming San Franciscans.
According to the SF Examiner, the 13-unit apartment building was unveiled to a gaggle of supporters — among them Mayor London Breed, herself, and transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) community leaders — as part of the ongoing work conducted by the Our Trans Home SF initiative. The coalition recently received a $2.3M allocation, that amount, aside from securing the rent of this Washington Street address, is also being used to provide rental subsidies to TGNC individuals.
We’re ready with the giant scissors for the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Trans Home SF on Washington street house opening!— TransCitySF (@TransCitySF) January 21, 2020
Congratulations @TransHomeSF and @comebystjames!https://t.co/GKQAJqfgl0 pic.twitter.com/28e0xh21tI
"Every day our trans community struggles to find affordable and inclusive housing, despite [President Donald] Trump's ongoing attacks San Francisco continues to have some of the strongest non-discrimination protections, although our ongoing housing crisis continues to impact our diverse community," said Breed to an attentive crowd, as described by Bay Area Reporter. "With one out of every two transgender San Franciscan having experienced homelessness, we knew we had to take bold steps to fix these inequities, and I am honored to join the coalition to launch this first-of-its-kind program because everyone deserves a safe place to call home."
The bright and airy home will serve as a point of acclamation; approved residents will be part of a one-year program to help "get them on their feet."
"This is a one-year program to help get them on their feet," explained Toni Newman, St. James' executive director and administrator of the project, to the local media outlet; she, too, was a homeless New Yorker during her transition in the late 1980s. "After that, new people will move in and hopefully after a year they will be ready to fly and go live on their own."
Accepted individuals are given a safe roof over their heads, but also sustenance, vocational training and opportunities, clothing and apparel, and even the means to a savings account (with funds). Our Home SF also will provide rent support for TGNC people facing eviction and those advocating for institutional change.
The Bay Area reporter notes that the Chinatown property is owned by a gay couple who wish to remain anonymous, which is being rented to the non-profit for a below-market rate. The already approved thirteen program residents are slated to move in around March, and talks of getting a second house are already in the works.
Fifteen people reportedly applied for this round of housing, and Our Home SF has said those TGNC individuals — among others who, inevitably, apply for the program — will be waitlisted till an opening comes up.