|Project Fierce Chicago’s North Lawndale Home aims to provide community- driven, identity-affirming housing on Chicago’s underserved West side.
CHICAGO, IL – In 2017, Project Fierce Chicago (PFC) will open a transitional housing program in North Lawndale for LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness. The organization aims to meet the need for safe, affirming housing in which youth can become stabilized, access resources and heal from institutional and interpersonal violence. With most services for the LGBTQ community concentrated on the north side, many young people have to travel outside of their community to access services in neighborhoods that are not always safe for LGBTQ youth of color and youth experiencing homelessness.
PFC was founded in 2012. In August of 2015 the group purchased a nine-bedroom house in North Lawndale for $70,000. They are currently completing construction, renovation and interior design. With continued community support, the house will open in the fall of 2017. PFC utilizes the rich skills, talent, dedication and financial resources of the LGBTQ community, rather than looking outward to institutions or the government for support. The group’s goal is to remain autonomous and accountable in organizational decision-making.
According to a Williams Institute study, 40% of youth served by homeless youth service providers identify as LGBTQ. A Windy City Times survey of LGBTQ young people in the Lakeview community of Chicago showed that 81% identified as a person of color; 12% identified as transgender and genderqueer; 46% were not in school; and 81% were unemployed.
LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness are at increased risk for violence from other shelter residents, strangers on the street, and police. Shelters and other organizations that are supposed to support them often do not. They experienced violence, theft, homophobia, and being banned from service organizations. Trauma caused by institutional and interpersonal violence places these young people at a higher risk for substance dependence, mental health challenges, and suicide.
The community has supported PFC by donating to crowd-funding campaigns; attending fundraising events; donating as a monthly sustainer; other donations; and volunteering. Continued support needed from community in 2017 includes donations (monetary and in-kind home furnishings from their wish list); monthly sustainers; hosts for house party fundraisers; new board members; and pro bono consulting and services.
Project Fierce Chicago 2017 Timeline:
Winter-Spring: PFC will complete rehab of the home.
Project Fierce Chicago, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is a grassroots collective of service providers, youth advocates and community members who are working together to establish community-driven, identity-affirming housing in Chicago. Project Fierce’s mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing transitional housing and support services to LGBTQ-identified young adults. ProjectFierceChicago.org