In the City of Detroit, it is estimated that there are between 800-1000 runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth on the streets on any given day. Ruth Ellis Center served more than 50% of those youth last year alone.
Current funding allows for our Drop In Center to be open three nights a week. With last year's severe winter in Detroit we want to add an ADDITIONAL DROP IN CENTER NIGHT during the coldest months to provide warmth, food, clothing, showers, free laundry, peer support and youth leadership programing.
We need YOUR SUPPORT to make that happen!
If we raise MORE THAN our $25,000 goal, we will continue the extended hours into the Spring and Summer!
The short film shown is a documentary of the process leading up to our annual event VOICES and is an example of how we do the work we do. We hope you enjoy.
The Ruth Ellis Center (REC) was formed in 1999 in response to a severe act of violence against a gay youth who was experiencing homelessness. Concerned community members recognized that the prevalence of violence and victimization against LGBTQ youth that often leads to and is a result of homelessness. A board and nonprofit were established with the mission to "provide short and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender, and questioning youth."
The Ruth Ellis Center is named in honor of the life and work of Ruth Ellis, a respected and loved member of the Detroit LGBT community. During the 1930s and 1940s, Ms. Ellis provided shelter, physical support and spiritual affirmation to those whose race, sexual orientation or both set them apart from the dominant culture. The work we continue to do with homeless youth and young adults in our community is built upon her model of responsibility to oneself and one's community. All services are rooted in the four core principles of work; trauma informed care, positive youth development, harm reduction and restorative justice.
REC currently operates three core programs:
(1) Ruth's House - our residential foster care program for youth ages 12-17.
(2) Second Stories Drop-In Center providing emergency food, clothing and supplies; housing resources, HIV testing and counseling; peer support groups; and positive youth development programming for youth and young adults ages 14 to 24; including: Psycho-educational Peer Support Groups focus on topics selected by REC youth. Past topics include healthy relationships, job access and sound financial decision making. Gurl Talk - an adaptation of the successful SISTA HIV intervention, tailored to meet the needs of transgender male to female sex workers, helping them remain safe while seeing healthy, legal alternative work. Referral Network - providing youth with access to staff that facilitate and/or make referrals to HIV testing and counseling services, medical and dental services, housing, employment, resume review and job preparation opportunities, and other services as requested.
(3) Second Stories Outpatient Mental Health Services for homeless LGBTQ youth and young adults 7-30 years of age serving individuals, groups and families. All program services are coordinated using a team-centered approach.