“The shelter is aimed at supporting LGBTI people during crisis periods. For example, when someone comes out and gets kicked out of their home and has nowhere to go, or if someone gets fired for being gay, which is illegal, but it does happen, it can lead to the person being unable to pay the bills.” Photo: pridesheltertrust.com
Cape Town – Cape Town Pride celebrated the visibility of LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex) people last weekend. Members of the community face difficulties and challenges in society and the festival is an opportunity to celebrate their identity.

The Pride Shelter Trust is a non-profit organisation managing a shelter offering short-term accommodation to members of the Cape Town LGBTI community during crisis periods in their lives.

“The idea for the shelter started in 2005 when a group of people from the LGBTI community realised the need for it because there hadn’t been anything before in the city,” said Andrew Howard, a board member of the Trust.

“The shelter is aimed at supporting LGBTI people during crisis periods. For example, when someone comes out and gets kicked out of their home and has nowhere to go, or if someone gets fired for being gay, which is illegal, but it does happen, it can lead to the person being unable to pay the bills.”

Howard said the service that they currently provide is short-term, and not for anyone under the age of 18. Residents who go to the shelter can stay for free for the first month; if a resident arrives without a job, they are required to look for one. If they find a job within the month, they can apply to stay for an additional month, which commences on the day they start work. They then have to pay R35 a day for the additional month.

“We have a student psychologist who comes to the centre once or twice a week to offer one-on-one and group sessions. We also refer the residents to other centres they may need. We provide two meals a day, and there is a requirement that everyone has breakfast together, just so we have that communal time.”

Howard said while the house they use is from the City of Cape Town they rely heavily on donations because they do not receive funding.

“We’re always looking for monetary or food donations, preferably non-perishables because they last longer, and new or second-hand clothing. If people want to volunteer, like help with electronics or plumbing, we always welcome them.”

The shelter can be found at Pride Shelter Trust on Facebook and Twitter. You can SMS the word SHELTER and your name to 40215 to donate R20.

Cape Argus