Regional: Activist seeks to open LGBTQ homeless shelter

Carolinas News Notes

RICHMOND, Va. — GayRVA.com has reported that activist Zakia Mckensey is working to create an LGBTQ-specific homeless shelter and needs the community’s support.

Mckensey has worked in HIV/AIDS and transgender support “for nearly as far back as she can remember,” the news organization added. Now she is working to raise $200,000 to purchase a Northside house which she plans to turn into an emergency homeless and drop-in shelter for Central Virginia’s LGBTQ population.

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GayRVA reported that “Mckensey was all too familiar with the homeless side of the equation. When she came out as gay in her teens, her mother put her on the street — it didn’t get any easier when she came out as transgender years later, but by then she’d been making headlines as a drag pageant queen around the country by that point.”

Mckensey started Nationz Foundation a little over a year ago to offer HIV/AIDS testing, as well as a food pantry for those in need. She has also worked with Fan Free Clinic (now called Health Bridge) and has pioneered testing programs at clubs and on the street, as well as a stint at the local Virginia Department of Health where she addressed the “growing HIV/AIDS crisis in Richmond, one of the worst in the country.”

“The project was also spurred on by the murder of her friend and local trans woman Noonie Norwood. Norwood’s case remains unsolved, but Mckensey hopes the service the house and Nationz Foundation can provide will lead to less lives lost for those like her,” GayRVA added.

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Contributions are being accepted through Mckensey’s GoFundMe page.

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.