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Memphis nonprofit to build 20 ‘tiny’ homes for trans women facing homelessness


A nonprofit founded in 2016 by two trans women of color has big plans for tiny homes in Memphis, Tenn.

My Sistah’s House, an organization that advocates for the rights of LGBTQ people — especially transgender women of color — is gearing up to “create a tiny community of 20 houses” to help members of the community are experiencing homelessness, Kayla Rena, the organization’s co-founder and executive director, told the Daily News.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, one in five transgender people in the U.S. have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.

Rampant violence against the transgender community and the long-lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the crisis, as trans women of color, who are normally at a “higher risk of violence and discrimination when attempting to access housing,” are disproportionately affected.

With that in mind, Rena, whose organization has provided emergency housing for trans people for over three years, thought of a more permanent solution for them: buying land to build permanent homes.

The group set up a GoFundMe page, which has passed $270,000 (out of an initial goal of $450,000) as of Thursday.

The funds will go towards the purchase of the land and material.

Thirty acres are already under contract, said Rena, who’s now just waiting for the process to go through court before it’s finalized — which should be on or before Aug. 31.

If all goes according to plan, the first three tiny homes should be completed by the end of December.

According to Rena, funding that exceeds the $450,000 GoFundMe goal will will be used towards purchasing of land for the creation of “community gardens, scattered housing, recreation spaces in undeserved communities.”