“The LGBT community thrift store model has been very successful at fundraising for agencies in other states, such as California, and we strongly believe it will do well here,” said Lost-N-Found Youth Treasurer and thrift store chief financial officer Paul Swicord in a statement. “This has been a community effort, from the people who donated items, to the hundreds of hours of hard work by our volunteers, to help from our city officials.”
Original plans were to have the thrift store open in July, but the group got bogged down in the permitting process. They turned to Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan for help.
“I extend my congratulations to Lost-n-Found Youth for reaching this milestone and, more importantly, my appreciation for the critical work that the group does for our community,” said Wan in a statement. “Helping to navigate the sometimes tricky waters of city permitting process was the least I could do for this very worthy cause, and I look forward to working closely with them going forward.”
The thrift store will also offer job skills training to clients in need of experience.
The drop-in center will provide a place for youth who are not ready to come off the street to get a hot meal, take a shower, fill out paperwork to get identification cards, use computers to search for jobs and to also be around other people, said Rick Westbrook, executive director of Lost-N-Found Youth.
The organization is also in the midst of a $1 million capital campaign with hopes of breaking ground on a new shelter by the end of next year. The organization currently rents a home that provides six beds for homeless youth needing help to transition to a place of their own. For more information, visit www.lostnfoundyouth.org.