The John Howard Society of Saskatchewan has launched a capital campaign supporting a new youth shelter for LGTBQ2S+ youth.
Lulu’s Lodge, a 5-bedroom house in Regina is aimed at providing residence to LGTBQ2S+ youth aged 16-21, who may otherwise be homeless.
CEO of the John Howard Society, Shawn Fraser says the new house was acquired with the help of the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.
Fraser says the new space provides more opportunities.
“Since that time, the program’s continued to grow and evolve, and we’ve helped a lot of people in the short time that we’ve had programming running,” said Fraser. “We’re just hoping to make that program stronger, and stronger, and part of that is reaching out to people today to ask for help in paying down that mortgage. Our goal is to raise $100,000 in the next two years.”
Fraser says even without the formal capital campaign, the community support has been overwhelming.
Local LGTBQ2S+ advocate Terry Van Mackelberg, says places like Lulu’s Lodge provide support for youth today that he didn’t have growing up.
Van Mackelberg says it allows the youth to live their lives the way they want to, without fear.
“Lulu’s Lodge provides a safe home for youth to go to, who may no longer be able to go home to their family, it also provides more than just a safe home, it provides a family and a sense of community,” said Van Mackelberg. “The feeling you get walking into this home is unbelievable, because these youth, they know that they belong, they know that they can be who they truly are.”
Van Mackelberg says the pandemic has impacted the Lulu’s Lodge project in more ways than one.
“For a lot of LGTBQ people who may not be safe in the home that they’re in, the pandemic has forced them to have to self-isolate in a home that may not be safe,” said Van Mackleberg. “The other part too, is there is no government funding for an LGTBQ2S+ specific home, so all the funds have to be raised through the community.”
More information on Lulu’s Lodge, and the capital campaign, can be found on their website.