Project Rainbow holds fundraiser to raise money to open the first LGBTQ+ shelter in West Virginia

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:17 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - It was standing room only at Morgantown Art Party on March 23.

The business hosted a fundraiser to raise money to create West Virginia’s first LGBTQ+ shelter.

There was bingo with prizes, an art auction, drag shows, musical performances and more for the community to enjoy.

Board President of Project Rainbow, Cassidy Thompson, said they were working to lease a space that would be the home of the Rainbow House.

“It’s really difficult to navigate the housing system in general. But we’ve noticed that people that identify as part of that community face different barriers, like threats and violence based on their gender identity or sexuality,” Thompson explained.

The Rainbow House would be a place for unsheltered LGBTQ+ people to stay and have access to resources to help them find housing.

The idea for Project Rainbow came over the winter in Thompson’s office while working to help a transwoman in the community.

“Two of the other board members and I have worked very closely with a transwoman for a very long time. She was facing harassment and violence at one of the shelters in town this winter. It’s at no fault of the shelter’s staff these things happen,” Thompson added.

They wished there was a place where this woman would feel safe, and that’s how it all started.

“There are more people like her than we even know about all over the state, and there is no where safe for them to go,” Thompson said.

Thompson added that several people that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community struggle with finding support, and this shelter would be a place to find it.

“Rejection from family. Lack of family support due to their gender identity or sexuality and that is really heartbreaking. These are some of the most wonderful kids that I’ve met a lot of them are very young,” Thompson explained.

Anyone interested in more information on Project Rainbow can go to their Facebook page.