We are excited to share that yesterday, Wednesday, June 17th Jazzie’s Place opened its doors in the Mission District as the first LGBTQ adult emergency shelter in the nation! Jazzie’s Place is a new 24-bed shelter space aimed to serve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and gender non-conforming San Franciscans experiencing homelessness. There are separate sections for male-identified, female-identified, and gender non-conforming folks, so people will be able to self-identify which would be best suited for themselves. For LGBTQ-identified participants that we see here at Project Homeless Connect, this means finally feeling validated in their own experience and being accepted for who they are.
The shelter is named after Jazzie Collins, a transgender woman who fiercely advocated for LGBTQ housing and services until she passed away in 2013. Jazzie’s Place will continue her legacy by ensuring there is an emergency shelter where everyone feels safe. Though intended for those identifying as LGBTQ, Jazzie’s Place is a part of the overall San Francisco emergency shelter system and is open to all adults experiencing homelessness. Jazzie’s Place is housed within the Dolores Street Community Services Shelter. The goal of Wendy Phillips, Dolores Street’s Executive Director, is to assign LGBTQ-identified staff to the Jazzie’s Place shelter thereby prioritizing a safe environment for the community.
With nearly one in three homeless individuals identifying as LGBT in San Francisco*, the urgent need for LGBTQ-sensitive shelter services is clear. PHC’s LGBTQ-identified participants have shared with us that threat of discrimination and violence they face from others often keeps them from using the shelter system. Bevan Dufty, Director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships & Engagement remarked, “This is so much more than 24 beds. This is a recognition that our services have not always been accessible to members of the LGBTQ community, because of hostility and ignorance. This is about a system recognizing the unique needs of LGBTQ individuals, particularly to be safe and welcomed.” While twenty-four beds is not nearly enough capacity for the need of LGBTQ shelter, it is a step forward in the right direction. Let’s celebrate Jazzie’s Place as an opportunity for community engagement around expanding safety-net services for the LGBTQ community here in San Francisco.
The best way to make a reservation for a bed at Jazzie’s Place is through the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center (MNRC) at 165 Capp Street or to call (415) 869-7977. Project Homeless Connect Resource Specialists are available during office hours to help answer questions about the shelter system and more information about Jazzie’s Place. Fill out our online form or call our resource line at 1-855-588-7968 to make an appointment.
*June 2013 San Francisco Point-In-Time Homeless Count census data