WASHINGTON D.C., September 2, 2022 — The recent shuttering of Casa Ruby has traumatized its employees and clients. Before the shutdown, employees went unpaid for six to eight weeks, with some continuing to work without pay to help transition and support the youth and clients. Clients were abruptly placed with other programs, but they all continue to struggle and fear being homeless, with no food, job, or healthcare. “It is imperative that the integral and glorious humans of Casa Ruby feel a sense of reciprocity from our community; meaning the immense care and support that they have provided to our community members in need–selflessly and without compensation–should be reciprocated ten-fold during this extremely dire chapter of their lives,” said Kimberley Bush, Executive Director of The DC Center.
In response, the Capital Pride Alliance (CPA) and The DC Center for the LGBT Community (The DC Center) have teamed up to raise funds, through the Pride 365 Fund, to support the employees who worked without pay and some who continue to do so. The funds will provide immediate support to help them pay for rent, groceries, and transportation. They will also be connected to resources such as case management, counseling, and workforce development programs. Most importantly, the former Casa Ruby staff members need new jobs, and quite critically, jobs that break down barriers that prevent LGBTQ+ youth, especially Trans women of color, from becoming employed. These dedicated employees have gone through many unimaginable difficulties to survive. They deserve a second chance and the opportunities that come with that. In addition, they are entitled to the support and love of the community. “Our organizations want to uplift the lives of these hardworking and committed members of our community,” said Ryan Bos, Executive Director of CPA. “We are grateful to be in the position to raise these funds and help connect the past employees to existing programs and opportunities that can foster ongoing support,” Bos continued.
CPA and The DC Center are working with the Wanda Alston Foundation, which was selected by a D.C. Superior Court judge to serve as the receiver for Casa Ruby, to disseminate the funds fairly and equitably through a transparent process. “I am thrilled that CPA and The DC Center are using their platforms and resources to help the incredible former staff of Casa Ruby. We are all in this together and helping our vulnerable community members is a cause worth supporting,” said June Crenshaw, Executive Director of Wanda Alston Foundation and acting receiver of Casa Ruby.
“We want to acknowledge and thank our Community Partner, Wegmans, for donating gift cards that will provide the vital nutritional sustenance that our community members need. In addition, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, DC Different Drummers, and Impulse Group DC, have all made commitments to support this effort,” said Bush. “The support from our community will help to rebuild the lives of our LGBTQIA2S+ colleagues,” Bush emphasized.
To make a donation, please visit www.CapitalPride.org/casa-ruby-employee-support.
The DC Center for the LGBT Community educates, empowers, celebrates, and connects the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. To fulfill our mission, we focus on four core areas: health and wellness, arts & culture, social & peer support, and advocacy and community building.
The Capital Pride Alliance (CPA), located in Washington, DC, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of the LGBTQ+ community all year long, through educational programs, major events, fundraising, outreach and advocacy, providing platforms for visibility, and supporting the work of our many community organizations and local businesses.
The mission of the Wanda Alston Foundation (WAF) is to eradicate homelessness and poverty for LGBTQ youth between the ages of 18 and 24. We are dedicated to ensuring that LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness have access to services that improve their overall quality of life.