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North Houston Facilities To Provide Housing For Gay Youth

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Organizers and volunteers gathered on September 12 to begin cleanup for a new transitional living facility for youth. The facility, Fresh Start Community Haven, is specifically designed for Houston-area youth between the ages of 18–24 who identify as same-gender-loving, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and/or questioning, and who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

FSCH, Inc.,is a project ofProgressive Open Door Christian Center (PODCC), its senior pastor, Rev. Freedom K. Gulley. “Ourcenteridentified a disproportionate needplaguing our community that was not being met,” Rev. Freedom said. “Until this very day, we continue to receive phone calls from our young adult population asking for our support. Sympathetic tothat need,our people knowthat we are divinely called to ‘stand in the gap’ as advocates for these indigent young adults.”

Fresh Start Community Haven also announced it is collaborating with Northside Community Development Corporation to develop the Eric Staggers House. Together, the properties will provide housing for up to 16 young adults. Plans call for eachfour-bedroom home to house eight young adults, in addition to providing space for corporate offices.The grounds include a lush garden, three gazebos, and a spacious backyard. Both properties sit on four acres, located in the northeast Houston community of Trinity Gardens.

“I lost my son several years ago to HIV/AIDS complicationsand I wanted to do something to commemorate his life and his work,” said Pastor Robert Staggers, executive director of Northside Community Development Center, who sold the four acres to PODCC earlier this year. “These young adults need a place to know that they are safe, and they have a lot to offer the community.”

Located at 3422 Laura Koppe Road in north Houston, the facility officially opens in March 2010, organizers said. Subsequent cleanup days for grooming the backyard, cleaning out the houses, and preparing the property for habitation are planned for October 17 and November 14, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Fresh Start campus. Volunteers interested in assisting with this project are asked to call 281/903-7399 or log on to podcc.org/FreshStart.org. – by Nancy Ford

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