Realtors band together to support Youth Housing Project
MARYAH to hold launch party Feb. 25
Published Thursday, 09-Feb-2006 in issue 946
Even before The Center opens their new Youth Housing Project, a private organization is already working to provide ongoing support for the facility.
The Youth Housing Project, the first of its kind in the United States, will provide 23 units of affordable, supportive housing for youth between ages 18 and 24, with a special focus on GLBT youth. These high-risk youth are transitioning out of foster care and/or group homes, or from living in the streets, having been ejected from their homes because of their sexual orientation. The facility is scheduled to officially open mid-spring, when construction is completed.
Several real estate and business professionals have formed a group called MARYAH (Metro Area Real Estate professionals for Young Adult Housing) to provide support for the Youth Housing Project. The group’s members include: David Yoder and Gail Hillen (Bankers Hill Properties), Bill Vivian (EquiTrust Realty), Lucy Abernathy (Prudential California Realty), Dennis Murphy (CQ Financial group), Richard Woods (Woods Real Estate Services) and Josh Bottfield (Coldwell Banker Residential).
“MARYAH is an organization of realtors who feel committed to this project,” Abernathy said. “What a wonderful irony to provide housing to those in need when housing is what we deal with. It’s a wonderful group who really care about this gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender population.”
The realtors have committed to assisting The Center in raising funds, awareness and community support for the new housing project. The organization hopes to raise money not only to staff and outfit the housing complex, but also to support ongoing services.
“We not only have to furnish it, but we have to provide ancillary services, like counseling, job preparations – all of these services these kids need to be successful,” Abernathy said. “It is a major financial commitment to the community to keep this center open, furnish the rooms in a dignified fashion, [and] to provide a respectful and dignified way of life for these young people who have been living on the streets.”
MARYAH has been working behind the scenes on the housing project since its inception in October 2005. Two real estate agents that helped The Center locate the new property started the group.
“There were two agents, David Yoder and Gail Hillen, who were instrumental in securing the property for The Center. They are the people who said: ‘We can’t stop here. We need to continue to support it, continue to support the programs and continue to support the kids,’” Abernathy said.
The initial goal for MARYAH is to raise enough money to support several individuals staying at the Youth Housing Project for one year. They estimate it will cost $25 a day per person, which translates into $9,125 a year for each individual.
Each of the realtors have committed to hosting a private fund-raising party this year to help meet that goal.
“We’ve taken on the responsibility to have private parties and invite our realtor colleagues to them, make them fun and exciting and ask for donations,” Abernathy said. “Our population [is] terrific [at entertaining], and they love an excuse to party. So we’re going to tap into that.”
MARYAH’s launch party is Feb. 25.
“The launch party is going to be a big group of realtors amassing their wonderful energy at a new project in North Park called Hamilton Row Homes. It’s a fabulous new development, and they’ve given us permission to have our launch party there,” Abernathy said.
An invitation letter written by Vivian said approximately 150 people are expected to attend the wine and appetizer cocktail party, and five restaurants are donating the food. The group is asking that each attendee donate between $100 and $200.
MARYAH is also working on establishing a gift registry at Target stores for items the Youth Housing Project needs.
“We need sheets, we need pillows, we need towels … and once that registry is facilitated, anyone can go in there and donate what’s on the registry,” Abernathy said. The registry will be in place by the Feb. 25 party.
For more information about MARYAH or to get involved, contact David Yoder at (619) 990-0007 or email email@example.com. To make a donation to the Youth Housing Project, contact Zac Mikles at The Center, at (619) 692-2077 ext. 246 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.