Threat Derails Plan For LGBT Homeless Youth Shelter In Arkansas

The proposed shelter would provide transitional housing for LGBT youth via Arkansas nonprofit Lucie's Place.

Lucie’s Place, an LGBT nonprofit, planned to build a homeless shelter for LGBT youth in Little Rock, Arkansas—but the agency’s plans were thwarted by a threatening email that promised to “destroy the privacy” of the group home.

Lucie’s Place canceled its zoning hearing for the property, which was set to take place later this week, after receiving the threat.

“That email is the exact reason why we have to exist here at Lucie’s Place,” Penelope Poppers, the agency’s executive director, told KTHV.

The sender, who claimed she previously worked for a homeless shelter in Houston, alleged that the homeless shelter would impact the safety of her family.

“This is a terrible idea for our neighborhood,” the sender wrote. “If this passes, I will make it my personal mission to get all of our neighbors involved in disclosing the location of this home to anyone that we can and fighting the forward motion of this plan. This is absolutely unacceptable for this area.”

For years, Lucie’s Place has worked to provide support and resources for homeless LGBT youth. The agency currently serves about 70 clients. The proposed shelter would provide transitional housing for several clients of Lucie’s Place, who are homeless, LGBT, and typically between 16-24 years old.

Poppers used Nextdoor, a messaging app, to communicate with locals in the shelter’s proposed neighborhood. Most of the responses she received were “positive,” she told KHTV, but the one threatening email was enough to stall any developments on the project.

“It’s very urgent that we open as quick as we can so that we can start getting folks off of the streets, or getting folks out of the shelters where they’re unsafe, and get them into a home where they can, you know, get on their feet and move forward in life,” Poppers told KHTV.

Samantha Manzella is a writer and copy editor based out of the Hudson Valley. You can find her writing in a coffeehouse or searching Insta for the latest tattoo artist to hit the scene.
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