Ruby Corado has stepped down from her position as executive director of Casa Ruby, a 50-bed shelter serving the LGBTQ+ community in the District.
Corado’s departure comes after an $850,000 grant from the D.C. Department of Human Services was not renewed. Corado commented on the leadership change in a Facebook post.
“I recognize that I am only one person,” Corado said, “but now, they want to use me as a distraction.”
Casa Ruby was given five days’ notice from the District Department of Human Services that its grant would not be renewed on Oct. 1. Since then, an online funding effort has drawn over $113,000, exceeding its initial $50,000 goal.
DHS did not comment to WTOP on why funding for Casa Ruby was not renewed, but said the agency is committed to the safety and well-being of the city’s youth, including those in the LGBTQ+ community who experience homelessness disproportionately.
In her Facebook post, Corado questioned the city’s commitment.
“Why are you allowing LGBTQ money (to) go toward organizations that aren’t LGBTQ? Like, our grant is going to a non-LGBT organization,” she said.
In March, the Washington Blade reported Casa Ruby had filed an administrative complaint against DHS, claiming one of its officials had harassed, abused and discriminated against staff at the shelter.
The complaint also claimed the unnamed official did not follow COVID-19 protocols when transferring in clients from another homeless center.
New leadership at Casa Ruby
On Facebook, Corado introduced Alexis Blackmon as Casa Ruby’s interim executive director. Blackmon is a black transgender woman who has served as director of government affairs at the center.
Blackmon said transgender women specifically need the support that Casa Ruby offers: “So it is my mission here to come in and remove the focus from off of Ruby Corado and put the focus back on the mission of Casa Ruby.”
Blackmon highlighted Casa Ruby’s a goal to become self-solvent and continue creating a safe space, not just for the LGBTQ community, but for black trans women as well.
“These are the people that are truly impacted, and that is where the focus of Casa Ruby in Fiscal Year 2022 will be going,” she said.
Corado said that, following a three-month sabbatical, she will create a search committee for a new permanent director.
Casa Ruby employs almost 50 people and services more than 6,000 homeless individuals across the D.C. region each year.