I just peed myself with excitement reading about PROJECT FIERCE, a dream in the works for a self-sustaining, collective-run *free* housing project for queer youth. Chicago needs and wants this to happen—and hey, if it really works it could serve as a model for the needs and wants of your city, too, so please give whatever you can and pass this along. This is amaaazing.
Project Fierce Chicago is a grassroots group of youth service providers, housing advocates and radical social workers. Frustrated by the lack of housing resources available for LGBTQ young folks, we came together and decided that instead of waiting for institutional support from the city or state, we will work to address this issue ourselves through a community-driven project!
Our mission is to reduce LGBTQ youth homelessness in Chicago by providing affirming, no-cost transitional housing and support services to LGBTQ young adults. PFC also aims to encourage community-building and leadership development through collaborative living and civic engagement.
What’s Different About Us?
Project Fierce Chicago’s community home will provide longer-term transitional housing for LGBTQ young people ages 18-24. In addition to living space, residents be able to access services that foster independence such as case management, educational and vocational training, independent living skills training and individual and group therapy. These services will primarily be provided by dedicated volunteers & collective members.
PFC’s goal is to become a largely self-sustaining community by using a collective funding model, growing food in a community garden and making our own daily living items such as soap, lotion and household cleaning products with natural ingredients.
A focus on self-sustainability fosters community, self-confidence and accountability, which supports young folks with their transition to independence while building partnership a which will supporting local community members and businesses. Finally, this model also allows us greater independence from insitutional bodies that are not always able to respond effectively to our community’s needs.
We Need Your Help!
Project Fierce Chicago needs funds to file for non-profit status with the IRS. Non-profit status will allow us access to more funding opportunities and accept tax deductible donations.
By donating any amount of money, you’re becoming a part of this project and promoting the success of youth in our community. Stay in touch with us as the project grows via our newsletter!
Background: Queer Youth Homelessness in Chicago
There are an estimated 15,000 youth in Chicago who experience homelessness in the course of a year, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) and the Illinois Department of Human Services, and an estimated 32% - 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ (Gay & Lesbian Task Force, 2007). These young folks experience hunger, institutional and interpersonal violence, employment discrimination, and don’t have access to basic needs. Read more about youth homelessness in Chicago on our website [link to our site site].
Our community home would allow youth to feel more secure knowing that they have guaranteed housing every night. PFC’s supportive program would provide time and space for the young people to access important resources like employment, schooling, public benefits, etc, which can be insurmountably difficult to access without a home.
Other Ways You Can Help!
1. Consult or volunte with PFC. We would be extremely grateful for help from people who have expertise in housing, finance and/or law. Please contact us if ou have a background and want to help: ProjectFierceChicago@gmail.com.
2. Host a fundraiser for PFC. We need a good deal of resources to maintain a space, and we need friend to throw parties or events that earn some green!
3. Spread the word!