Back in spring, Capitol Hill was covered with pink posters insisting: “We need queer youth space.” Coffee shops, meeting rooms, and service providers like Lambert House were not enough, a set of activists said—they needed space run by queer youth. Then on June 16, the Dept. of Neighborhoods awarded them $100,000 to do it.
Six months later, where is it?
One space the group tried to rent fell through in summer, another is up in the air, and others on the market don’t suit their needs, says Kyle Rapinan, one of group’s leaders. “We don’t want it to be close to a bar,” he explains. Particularly sharing any walkway or being in the same building as a bar, he says, “would be counter to our mission to provide safe and healthy spaces for young people.” The venue must also be wheelchair accessible, as per city granting rules, and located in the city's eastern district (Capitol Hill and the neighborhoods to the east).
“Hopefully within the next six months we’ll know about the landlord,” he says. “Even though it looks like the project is deferred, it is still actively involving queer youth in the community.”
The timeline for actualizing a project funded in part with city money can vary; another project awarded last year won’t begin until next spring, says Anne Takekawa, a project manger for the neighborhood matching fund at the city's Department of Neighborhoods. But if Queer Youth Space were in the same position in a year from now, she says, “I would be extremely concerned.”
So hold tight—your queer youth space is (hopefully) just around the corner. Just don’t let any pesky bars get in the way.