How You Can Help a Phoenix LGBTQ Youth Center Rebuild After Fire – Arizona News

How You Can Help a Phoenix LGBTQ Youth Center Rebuild After Fire – Arizona News

The air outside of the one-n-ten LGBTQ youth center smells like burnt toast. The beige walls are charred with black near boarded up triangular windows. The roof is spotted with holes that firefighters cut. A city-issued chain-link fence surrounds what was once a safe haven.

From looking at the tarnished structure, you’d never guess that just days ago, this place had a staircase painted with rainbow colors. You’d never know that 22-year-old Justin Jones once called this place “the gayest, [most] fabulous thing you have ever seen.” You wouldn’t see all the smiling faces of LGBTQ teens who called this building home.

But the community is rallying together after a Wednesday fire that left the one-n-ten youth center on Third Street and Weldon Avenue a total loss, director of development Travis Shumaker says.

The fire injured no one, but took everything.

The flames that shot up around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday were originally deemed suspicious, but investigators say they no longer have reason to believe that’s the case. Fire department spokesperson Captain Reda Bigler says the cause is still unknown, but it could have to do with spontaneous combustion or faulty wires.

The center, which Shumaker says reaches about 1,000 LGBTQ youth, ages 14 to 24, in the community on a regular basis, was once a place where people like Jones would go for a shower, a warm meal, and understanding.

In the aftermath of the fire, the center is calling on the community to help supplement food, clothing, and things, rather than money, Shumaker says, though they will accept donations to support a summer camp they organize each year.

One-n-ten was…

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