The South Coast LGBTQ+ community hit a huge milestone back in November of 2020 and has officially broken ground with the very first LGBTQ+ Community Center in New Bedford.
Downtown is where the big plan is being put into work at 60 8th Street, directly adjacent to the First Unitarian Church. This will not only be the first of its kind in the Whaling City, but will be open and welcome to anyone who is seeking shelter, advice or guidance.
Formerly known as the Sister Rose Homeless Shelter, it was sold to the new community center for $15,000 last winter. Renovations are currently in place for the 5,000 sq. ft. four-floor building that will eventually serve the individual needs of families and individuals.
"We're breaking new ground by having a community center for those who want a safe place and to be comfortable being themselves.I want our kids and elders to know that they have a home. I's not just a center it’s a home and a place knowing that your safe at. Each week, this community center is still going to be here for you. Our main focus is our elders our trans and non-binary and our youth.It’s going to be excited to have the kitchen and be able to serve food to the LGBTQ+ community. " Traci Welch- Secretary and Events Committee Chairperson/Advisor for the LGBTQ+ Community Network
The community center will be equipped with a media center with computers for guests to use freely or to find resources. Each floor will be designed for something specific such as a room to display the art of the community center members and also programs that will help to continue to make sure the kids and elders and the community have a safe place to come to and to be cared for. Welch tells Fun 107 that there will be a check-in greeting room by the entrance to assist the guest who are looking for help or just a place to crash for a bit.
The 501c3 nonprofit is aiming to complete the project by the end of 2022. There is still about six months left of work for the outside and since the building was built in 1908, the renovations are pretty steep, but will all be fixed and up to speed with housing and construction regulations. All lead and asbestos will be removed for ADA Compliance and there will also be a handicap accessible and a working elevator.
The South Coast LGBTQ+ Network is made up of volunteers who are always looking for help. They are hoping to eventually have paid staff, and a secretary to greet newcomers and even services for individuals who are looking for help. Currently, the group is still looking for grants as they've only raised and received $360,000 out of the $1 million it's going to take to transform the century-old building.
For more information, contact Rebecca McCullough, Vice President and Development Coordinator for the South Coast LGBTQ+ Network, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (508) 494-3553.
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