I was honored today to hear from Penelope Poppers, the Executive Director at Lucie’s Place, which I profiled over the weekend. Penelope was kind enough to answer a few questions and share the beautiful video telling Quenisha’s story.
Why is it critical to serve the population you support in the state where you are?
Lucie’s Place works with one of the most invisible populations in our community: LGBTQ young adults who are experiencing homelessness. Many of these young people are continually turned away from systems that are supposed to support them, be it friends, family, their church or even homeless agencies in the area. Time and time again they are told that they don’t deserve to exist, or that something about their existence is wrong. Without Lucie’s Place, LGBTQ young adults experiencing homelessness would have no where to go and no where to find any source of hope. Through our housing program, drop-in center, counseling, case management and all of our other programming, we’re able to get young folks back onto their feet and looking hopefully towards their futures.
What will Lucie’s Place’s main focus(es) be in 2017?
We opened our first home in 2016 and we’ll be opening our second home in 2017! We’ll be working with community partners to further develop our programming, so that we can not only serve more folks, but serve them better.
While you struggle against serious challenges and discrimination in a red state, what is something positive that those of us outside of Arkansas should know about the state or its people?
The sense of community here in Arkansas is especially strong, I think in part to the constant struggle for marginalized folks to exist.
Thank you so much to Penelope for taking the time to correspond with me and to all the wonderful staff and volunteers at Lucie’s Place for providing such an important safe space for such a vulnerable population!