KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City-area businesses are coming together this Pride Month to make sure every young person who identifies as LGBTQIA+ has a place to sleep at night.
Save, Inc., a non-profit which runs a variety of housing programs, is partnering with businesses to raise money and awareness for PRIDE Haven, its overnight shelter for homeless youth.
PRIDE Haven served as a drop-in center for young adults between the ages of 18-24 until transitioning to an overnight shelter in May.
Program manager Scout Desimio said currently, 17 of the shelter's 20 beds are filled.
"Nobody is turned away here because of their identity, nobody is turned away here based on their use of substances and nobody is turned away here based on their mental health status," Desimio said.
Desimio said PRIDE Haven is the only shelter of its kind in the Kansas City area and works to be inclusive of everyone.
"I think a lot of the young people enjoy that the space is affirming of their identities," Desimio said. "We are serving some young people that were not able to be successful in some other programs and that's something that we're really proud of."
The shelter helps youth who stay there get connected with resources in the community to get them back on their feet.
"We try to keep them on a 30-day timeline, but if they're not able to obtain housing in that amount of time we don't try to discharge them because that just continues the problem of homelessness," Desimio said.
It takes a lot of funding to keep the shelter up and running and purchase meals and toiletries for the youth who stay there.
To raise money and awareness, Save, Inc. is partnering with local businesses such as Bar K, Bistro 303, Café Trio, Char Bar, Mike’s Wine & Spirits, Ragazza & Tom’s Town for a variety of Pride Month events during June.
Tom's Town co-owner David Epstein said he is thrilled to be involved. His business is donating vodka to PRIDE Haven, which donates it to local restaurants to make their own pride-themed cocktails. Money raised with the drinks goes toward PRIDE Haven.
"It's not just about the flag, it really is just welcoming and acceptance to the community at large," Epstein said.
Epstein said he's proud Kansas City is showing up for Pride Month and setting itself apart from the rest of the country.
"A lot of it is just a party, which I get it, everybody wants to be a part of that and it's a blast, but this is also showing that there's a bigger part to that and it is helping the entire community," Epstein said.
Blaine Proctor, Save, Inc. CEO, said he is blown away by the support and generosity from local businesses.
"It's a great feeling because we know that we're doing what we need to be doing, we're touching a population that needs this service because nobody else is doing it," Proctor said.
Here are the Pride Month events in the metro that will benefit PRIDE Haven:
- Monday June 21, 5 – 8 p.m.: Bar K Pride Event
- Thursday June 24, 6 p.m. – Boulevard Brewing Drag Show
- Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Café Ca Phe Hella Queer Vendor Event, Big Rip Brewing (North KC)
- Sunday June 27, 11:30 a.m. – Boulevard Brewing Bingo
- Boulevard Brewing: They are donating $5 back from every PRIDE crowler sold, as well as 100% of all proceeds from their Pride shirt. Donations will be split between SAVE and the Kansas City Center for Inclusion.