New El Paso LGBTQ shelter for teens opens

Community

A new shelter is opening its doors to local teens in search of a safe place to stay. 

The El Paso Center for Children opening a first-of-its kind LGBTQ shelter in El Paso under its Transitional Living Program. 

The shelter received its first resident just before Christmas, a teen girl who says she would be alone for the holidays if it weren’t for the shelter.

“Like literally when you walk in, it feels like home,” she said. “I got kicked out and I was a little bit homeless.”

The girl, who did not want to be named, said she is grateful to have her own home and own room right in time for the holidays. She hasn’t lost her holiday cheer, writing ‘Happy Holidays’ on her bedroom door. 

The program’s director, Jennifer Phelps said the LGBTQ shelter grew out of interviews from youth staying at the El Paso Center for Children’s emergency shelter.

“What we’re going to offer here is not just services or housing but that family connection that people have naturally in their own home,” Phelps said. 

The shelter admits 16 to 17-year-olds that have been emancipated by parents or homeless 18 to 22-year-olds that identify anywhere on LGBTQ spectrum.

Phelps said she’s happy to open the shelter just before Christmas and welcoming her first resident was the biggest holiday gift. 

“It’s absolutely wonderful that were able to share Christmas with her,” Phelps said.

For more information on the El Paso for Center for Children’s Transitional Living Program, you can give them a call at (915) 565-8361.

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