January 5, 2017 at 10:03 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
SMYAL LGBT youth house set to debut Jan. 7
Bowser meets Trump, gay news, Washington Blade, homeless LGBT youth

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is slated to cut the ribbon opening the SMYAL youth house. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will be among those participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 7, for the opening of a new transitional house for homeless LGBT youth to be operated by SMYAL, the local LGBT youth services organization.

The newly built, eight-bedroom transitional house is located at 746 19th St., N.E. The ribbon-cutting event and a preview of the new house were scheduled to take place from 10 a.m.-noon.

“We’ve been hard at work setting up our new transitional housing program for homeless LGBTQ youth and we can’t wait to get it up and running,” SMYAL said in a statement released last week.

The statement says the IKEA store in College Park, “graciously offered to furnish the entire house, with over $15,000 in donations.”

SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir first announced SMYAL’s plans for opening the house at SMYAL’s annual fundraising brunch in November. He said the house would be rented and operated by SMYAL under a one-year $300,000 grant from the D.C. Department of Human Services, which he expected to be renewed in subsequent years.

Shakir said the house and SMYAL’s transitional housing program would offer various services for LGBT people between the ages of 18 and 24 to help them get on their feet and become self-sufficient following a stay at the facility for up to 18 months.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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