A new resource center for the LGBT community has opened in Youngstown. It will act as a safe haven for those who need one.
Full Spectrum Community Outreach, which used to run out of a small office, now has its own place to call home. It’s located at 5060 Youngstown-Poland Road in what used to be a bowling equipment repair shop.
“We spent a good three weeks trying to get this place together so that people had a place that they felt safe to go to,” said Gender and Sexuality Director Daniel Tirabassi.
Full Spectrum has big hopes for this small building.
“One of the biggest problems in society right now is bullying and the feeling of being unsafe, so it’s very important, especially in today’s atmosphere that they have a place to go that they don’t need to worry about what’s going to happen to them if they go there,” Tirabassi said.
The new facility holds monthly support groups with licensed counselors on topics like gender and family issues, as well as substance abuse.
“We want to make sure people feel safe to kind of connect together to get the resources they need if they need any help,” Tirabassi said.
Not only is it for support, but kids who might not have a stable home life can get necessities, like a hot shower, food and toiletries.
The LGBT youth program is something Youth Director John Danso said is hard to find.
“Organizations that were trying to meet their needs weren’t doing so in a culturally competent manner.”
The new facility doesn’t keep people overnight, but it is open seven days a week.
“We worked out a schedule well enough that we’re able to offer hours for everybody,” Tirabassi said.
This is the only LGBT-specific facility in the Valley. Full Spectrum is working with other organizations around the area to fill in where they see a need.
“We looked around the community to see what was missing, and what was missing was a place that the LGBT community could go that was focused completely on their needs,” said Full Spectrum Trustee Tim Bortner.
This is just one of the first growth projects the group has set in motion.
To keep up with what Full Spectrum’s doing, visit their website.