YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Full Spectrum Community Outreach has been without an in-person location since last April. But on Wednesday, they signed the papers for a property that will become the new center and one to be used as an LGBTQ+ shelter.
Full Spectrum is working to set up the new permanent center at the location of the old Hope House.
“Group meetings, support groups, we can do trainings in here,” says founder and CEO Tim Bortner.
Bortner says the group has been holding its meetings at Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown for the last year, but members are excited about moving.
“More organizations in the community that are LGBT-friendly can come here and be involved,” Bortner said.
The center will also have an outdoor space.
Bortner: “This is absolutely my favorite.”
First News Reporter Desirae Gostlin: “OK, why?”
Bortner: “I love outdoors, and I think mental health is very important for our clients.”
Included in the purchase is property that will be converted into an LGBTQ+ transitional house, the location of which will remain undisclosed for safety and privacy concerns.
“The closest 100% LGBT-friendly transitional house is 40 miles from here,” Bortner said. “We’ve had about five clients in the last month that are homeless, and we have to find a place for them to go.”
Director of client care Gjergj Haxhiu helps people find housing and has heard heartbreaking stories of discrimination.
“Transgender people who have gone through the entire process — we’re talking about going through the hormone therapy, being on the list for surgery, going through everything — they still cannot be who they are,” Haxhiu said.
Full Spectrum is still raising money for both the shelter and center and still needs about $35,000 to cover the entire cost of the purchase. The group is running an online fundraising campaign to raise money.
Those interested in learning more about the organization can visit its website.