Casa Ruby Forced To Cut Services After DC Withdraws Funding
This article is part of our 2021 contribution to the DC Homeless Crisis Reporting Project in collaboration with other local newsrooms. The collective works will be published throughout the day on DCHomelessCrisis.press.
Casa Ruby, an LGBTQ service and social programs center, was forced to shut down important services after the district withdrew funding for the shelter.
Casa Ruby is forced to cut down on key services, including its low-barrier shelter, after the Washington, DC Department of Human Services (DHS) withdrew an $ 850,000 grant that supported its operations. Because DHS canceled the funding, Casa Ruby can no longer provide overnight stays at the Georgia Avenue shelter or maintain 24-hour reception services for those seeking services. Following DHS’s September 24 announcement, Ruby Corado, the founder of the shelter, resigned as executive director.
According to Alexis Blackmon (GRD ’21), interim executive director of Casa Ruby, staff first learned that the grant was being withdrawn when DHS sent the shelter a letter informing them that they were funding the shelter, without offering no explanation.
“The letter we received basically stated that it was at the city’s discretion to remove the subsidies as it saw fit,” Blackmon said in a telephone interview with The Hoya. “They didn’t give us a specific reason.
DHS did not respond to The Hoya’s request for comment.
Corado launched a GoFundMe page on September 25 in an effort to raise funds to keep the remaining beds at other Casa Ruby shelters – such as its LGBTQ Youth Transition Living Program – for people in need across the district.
The page received more than $ 100,000 in donations as of Oct. 6, which will be used to prevent the closure of other Casa Ruby services and resources in the future, according to Blackmon.
“This money allows us to focus on how to be self-solvent,” Blackmon said. “We can build something so that doesn’t happen to us in the future.”
Casa Ruby is the only LGBTQ, bilingual and multicultural organization in Washington, DC, according to its website. Founded in June 2012 by Corado and a small group of volunteers, Casa Ruby today has around 50 employees and helps around 6,000 people a year.
That same week, DHS ended funding for Casa Ruby, the agency awarded Covenant House Greater Washington, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and resources to homeless youth, a grant of 648,000 $ to fund its SHINE program, which provides short-term housing for LGBTQ youth.
SHINE opened on October 1 in northeast Washington. The location has 24 residential beds and residents can stay for up to 90 days. SHINE offers services specifically designed to benefit LGBTQ youth, such as workforce development programs, according to Angela Jones Hackley, general manager of Covenant House Greater Washington.
SHINE aims to help LGBTQ youth between the ages of 18 and 24 in the district who are homeless find opportunities and independence, according to Hackley.
“Our goal is to work with these young people, their passion and their promise, so that they are able to come out of homelessness and support themselves after they leave us,” Hackley wrote in an email to The Hoya.
According to Hackley, SHINE will ensure that individuals are treated with the love and respect they deserve as long as they are residents of the housing program.
“We do not tolerate our young people; we celebrate them, all of them, including young people who identify as LGBTQ, ”Hackley wrote.
According to Blackmon, the agency’s decision to fund Casa Ruby will take away a key resource from homeless LGBTQ people in the district.
“It’s a program that’s been around in the city for a long time, and it’s one of the first people-led and led operations in the district,” Blackmon said. “It’s very sad that the city, instead of trying to help this specific population keep the things they own, is just ready to tear it down and tear it up.”