Casa Ruby LGBTQ+ shelter struggles to stay open after losing DC grant

The founder of a 50-bed Northwest D.C. shelter helping young, homeless LGBTQ+ community members worries it may be forced to close after the abrupt loss of an $850,000 government grant.

Ruby Corado, who opened Casa Ruby’s first center on Georgia Avenue in mid-2012, said the nonprofit received five days’ notice that the District’s Department of Human Services would not renew the grant which funds its emergency shelter beds.

Corado is now seeking to raise $50,000 through GoFundMe to prevent the shelter’s imminent closure — and with it, the end of what Corado calls a safe space for “vulnerable clients who seek refuge from violence.”

Casa Ruby’s mission statement says it serves transgender, genderqueer, gender-nonconforming, gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals.

In a statement, the DHS did not comment on its decision not to renew Casa Ruby’s funding, but said it is committed to the safety and well-being of youth, including young LGBTQ+ people, who disproportionately experience homelessness.

Recent contentiousness has existed between the nonprofit and the District — in March, the group filed an administrative complaint against DHS, claiming an agency official’s conduct had been “harassing, abusive and discriminatory.”

On the fundraising page, Corado said closing the shelter’s doors would have wide-ranging effects: “This is also a terrible loss of 30 jobs that will impact the lives of trans and gender nonbinary and other employees who now may face homelessness themselves … a horrible tragedy.”

As of Tuesday morning, $46,000 of Casa Ruby’s $50,000 crowdfunding goal had been raised.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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