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The historic Tobey House in downtown Little Rock will soon be repurposed as a group living facility for young homeless people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Lucie's Place -- a nonprofit to support LGBT people who are currently or were formerly homeless -- had to get a conditional use permit and approval from the Capitol Zoning District Commission before housing up to eight clients in the home, which is located within the special zoning district in the 2300 block of Main Street.

The Commission unanimously issued the permit at an afternoon meeting Thursday.

Neighborhood opinion mostly favored the transitional living home locating there. The Zoning District received 25 communications in support, including neighbors and nearby community organizations such as Jericho Way Homeless Day Resource Center and the pastoral staff at First United Methodist Church.

One adjacent property owner had called to express opposition and one other person, who lives in Quitman but owns property in the area, emailed to say he opposed the home locating there.

This will be the second such house opened by Lucie's Place. The first opened in 2015. The organization was created in 2012 and says it has assisted more than 200 LGBT young adults.

"For many residents, this home will be the first accepting and stable home environment they have ever known," the application states.

The program is modeled after Little Rock's Our House shelter program, Immerse Arkansas and the Ali Forney Center in New York City.

Jericho Way Executive Director Mandy Davis wrote in a letter of support that LGBT homeless people face discrimination in Little Rock by shelters and service providers.

"A majority of shelter beds in the area are not accessible to people who are openly LGBT," Davis said.

Generally the zoning commission's rules prevent historic properties from being repurposed as group homes unless the clients are disabled. Penelope Poppers, executive director of Lucie's Place, made the argument in her application that since homeless youth are more likely to contract HIV and because testing positive for HIV qualifies a person as disabled, Lucie's Place should qualify for the conditional use permit.

She cited a City of New York study that said a homeless person is 16 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV compared with a housed person.

"HIV infection disproportionately affects homeless young people because they so often turn to sex with strangers to obtain the support and services they need (money, housing, food, transportation). Placing these young people in homes causes this survival sex out of desperation to stop and their risk of contracting HIV drops significantly," Poppers wrote in the application.

The Tobey House has four bedrooms. Lucie's Place plans to place up to two people in each room for a maximum occupancy of eight individuals. Two on-site resident advisers will manage day-to-day operation of the house.

Residents aren't allowed to have anyone over or reveal the home's location to anyone.

"This will minimize pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the home. Residents of the program will have a strict curfew, ensuring neighbors are not kept up by noise or activity in or around the home. With these measures in place, Lucie's Place believes that this program will be positively viewed in the neighborhood and local community," the application said.

There was no opposition at Thursday's meeting and the commission approved the request without discussion. The Mansion Area Advisory Committee had already voted 17-0 to recommend approval.

Metro on 10/20/2017

Print Headline: Zoning commission approves permit for 2nd LGBT facility

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  • wildblueyonder
    October 20, 2017 at 3:36 p.m.

    Oboy!

  • RBear
    October 20, 2017 at 5:10 p.m.

    Oh boy what? You got a problem with this move to help LGBT youth?

  • wildblueyonder
    October 20, 2017 at 5:35 p.m.

    You damn right I do! They need help but not the kind they, and you, are talking about.

  • RBear
    October 20, 2017 at 5:43 p.m.

    I figured you'd be trolling the boards and you proved me right. I'll call you out for your bigotry and hatred. Those young people have done NOTHING to you, yet you feel the need to attack them. Let me clue you in. Your twisted view of Christianity is more harmful to our nation than anything else. It's full of hypocrites and bigots who have distorted the love of God to fit a selfish and hateful view of the world.
    ...
    If anyone needs help, it's you and people like you. I've seen your hatred expressed continually over the months and quite frankly, I don't think anyone really would want to be around you.

  • wildblueyonder
    October 20, 2017 at 5:56 p.m.

    All YOU do is spread hate, bigotry, and your own feckless comments. And BTW, YOU are the resident troll on these boards. You're CONSTANTLY making your two-bit comments, usually from Google of course, nothing really original. Say what you like about my Christianity, but if you indeed ARE a Christian, you would condemn their lifestyle, although your "confession" sounds dubious, at best. You are nothing but a hypocrite, dude. I SURE wouldn't want to be around you, for ANY reason. Keep your "clues" to yourself, I damn sure don't want them!

  • ARMNAR
    October 20, 2017 at 7:10 p.m.

    gohogs, because of people like you, facilities like this are crucial.

    Bullies like you are partially responsible for the high suicide rate for LGBTQ youth.

    I'm guessing this delights you.

  • wildblueyonder
    October 20, 2017 at 7:20 p.m.

    You're absolutely wrong, armnar, I don't wish them harm. They need help, real help in the form of finding out why they "choose" that lifestyle. It IS a choice, they are not born that way. If it helps them see that then it would be worthwhile but not if it just enables them to continue their lifestyle. Suicide means there are mental problems, not physical problems. BTW, if calling me a bully helps you, I'm glad I could.

  • ARMNAR
    October 20, 2017 at 9:06 p.m.

    No reputable psychologist would agree with you re: "choice."

    With bullies like you in the world, who would "choose" to be LGBTQ?

    When did you "choose" to be hetero?

    Yeah, I thought so.

    It's not a choice.

    Period.

  • wildblueyonder
    October 20, 2017 at 9:31 p.m.

    I was born a male. I don't desire to be anything else like you apparently do. Mine is being who and what I am. Yours is a choice which you're welcome to. Best of luck.

  • PopMom
    October 20, 2017 at 10:53 p.m.

    gohogs,

    The suicide rate among the LGBTQ community is sky high because of jerks like you. Yes, they are born that way. You are not Christ like in the least. My Christ preached love. You hang on to bigoted and false translations which may or not may have been written by men. They were not the word of Christ. Why don't you worry instead about the high number of people who belong to far right churches and are pedophiles?

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