Metamorphosis is the OUTMemphis response to homelessness of LGBTQ youth, aged 18-24 (minors have other programs available). Its components work together towards the ultimate goal of providing a bridge for clients to move from needing emergency shelter to living independently. Rapid Re-Housing provides rental assistance starting at 100% and gradually lowering to self-pay over the course of a year to 14 individuals in ten apartments, generously furnished by IKEA. During that year, clients also qualify for Youth Emergency Services (YES) which provides food, clothing, personal care supplies, mentoring, job and educational placement assistance, life skills classes, mental and emotional health services, and other needed support.
OUTMemphis recently received the remaining funding necessary to build a permanent Youth Services Center which will provide emergency shelter for LGBTQ homeless young people who are not housed by any other existing organization. During the day, the center will function as the community’s only drop-in center for youth, both LGBTQ and straight, and will serve as the hub for YES.
In this film, we visit Flo in their apartment and at a neighborhood festival where they are volunteering for OUTMemphis, the organization that gave them support and help when they needed it. Flo shares what it feels like to be homeless and their gratitude to have a place that feels like home.
Iris shares with us how it felt to be unable to safely express herself in the past—it was difficult for her to talk to others and even to walk. Now that she has found a place where she can express the parts of herself she used to have to hide and where she feels like she has a family that loves her for who she is, she says she is super outgoing, “times ten!” We join her on a joyful shopping trip to the OUTMemphis YES donation center (currently housed at a local church) where she was able to pick out some clothes and furnishings for her new home.
In the US, over 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ. This is largely due to family and societal rejection. Thank you OUTMemphis for taking care of some of our most vulnerable population and Flo and Iris for opening our hearts and our understanding by so bravely and beautifully sharing your stories. We love you and are grateful that you are a part of our world.