The LGBT RAIN Foundation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for The RAIN Foundation Supportive Housing project on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, during Pride Month. Attendees gathered at the project site located in Newark’s West Ward at 25-27 Roseville Avenue.
The RAIN Foundation Supportive Housing project, a first-of-its-kind in the State of New Jersey, will create eleven (11) one-bedroom units of permanent, supportive housing for homeless individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and who may have a disability. The units will provide safe, decent, and affordable supportive housing—allowing residents to become independent and self-sufficient.
“Members of the LGBTQ community face discrimination and injustice just to put and keep a roof over their head,” stated Elaine Helms, founder and executive director of the RAIN Foundation. “With the groundbreaking of these eleven one-bedroom units, we will not only break ground, but also clear the path for equality and opportunity for individuals in our community.”
The groundbreaking ceremony was well attended by the project’s funders, LGBTQ+ activists and allies, local press, as well as City, County and State elected officials, including the Honorable Anibal Ramos, Jr., Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, the Office of United States Senator Bob Menendez, and the Office of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
“For years, the RAIN Foundation has been committed to strengthening our community by providing support and shelter to adolescents who identify as LGBTQIA+,” said Governor Murphy. “This new building will positively impact the lives of several currently homeless individuals by providing them with a safe, decent, affordable, and supportive home. As Governor, I commend the RAIN Foundation for its commitment to fighting the homelessness crisis that plagues our nation and for investing in our youth to enable them to live happy, healthy, and productive lives.”
In support of The RAIN Foundation Supportive Housing, the City of Newark is providing the project’s property, valued at $400,000, for a nominal amount. The City is also committing $1.3 million towards the project’s development. Additionally, this project is being funded by the HUD Continuum of Care, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (FHLBNY), BCB Bank, and the Essex County HOME program.
The RAIN Foundation will oversee the development, operations, and ongoing maintenance, in partnership with Helms and Elmore Equality Housing, LLC. In addition, the RAIN Foundation will be responsible for operating and maintaining the property. The RAIN Foundation will also collaborate with social service agencies including, but not limited to, the YMCA of Newark, Hedrick Martin Institute, NJCRI, Rutgers, and other social service agencies to deliver specific services to the residents.
Essex County LGBT RAIN Foundation will also serve as the sponsor, developer, and property manager on the development team, along with the architect, Kitchen & Associates, consultant, Monarch Housing Associates and attorney, Connell Foley.
This development will be the first of many supportive housing developments by the RAIN Foundation and is expected to open in 2022.
The RAIN Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides emergency shelter, transitioning housing, and permanent supportive housing services to address the emergent need of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) young adults between the ages 18-26 experiencing crisis leading to homelessness. The RAIN Foundation’s programs promote self-sufficiency and independence to enhance its residents’ ability to function within their communities. These programs aim to help adolescents lead healthy, productive, and meaningful lives.