By Robin Sattler for the Norwalk Hour
NORWALK -- With the holidays fast approaching, the Triangle Community Center is urging the public to donate to its emergency financial assistance fund to support homeless and LGBTQ clients.
With an estimated 40 percent of homeless youth having been identified as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) TCC Executive Director Anthony Crisci said the need for assistance is great.
"Every situation is different, but it's very common for LGBTQ teens to be kicked out by their families and become homeless," Crisci said. "They may not have HIV/AIDS or a disability and therefore wouldn't qualify for certain assistance. Our programs and services are here for them to provide better outcomes."
With the recent addition of a full-time service coordinator and case manager (Jacki Alessio) at TCC, Crisci said clients can now reach out to her for a variety of needs, including treatment programs and financial assistance.
In addition, clients can also seek assistance through Alessio by way of TCC's new transitional housing program.
The first of its kind in Connecticut, the program is aimed at housing LGBTQ people in need, a demographic Crisci said faces greater rates of homelessness than its peers.
The program is a collaboration with TCC and the Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project (MFAP) for the 10-bed Moore Place home in Norwalk, which is funded by Norwalk based World Health Clinicians, the Richardson Fund and the Giuliani Foundation.
"We have a lot of clients that are homeless and have reached out for information about the housing," Crisci said. "The LGBTQ community is very diverse, there are so many different demographics and we are available to help with any issue."
Crisci said TCC is sponsoring two units in MFAP's permanent supportive housing project, where four clients have already moved in.
On Dec. 7, TCC will host its annual holiday brunch, "Holiday High Tea" at the Norwalk Inn from 1-4 p.m.
The event, Crisci said is a chance to bring the community together and learn about all of the new programs and services TCC offers.
"It's a holiday party with a purpose!" Crisci said.
Those who attend the event are asked to donate items for the supportive housing program. Suggestions include: personal hygiene products, non-perishable food items, plain white cotton t-shirts and socks and household cleaning products.
Tickets are available online at www.ctgay.org and are priced at $35 for TCC members and $50 for non-TCC members.
Donations are also being accepted at TCC at 618 West Ave., Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.