The historic-bungalow-turned-LGBT-haven in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District will cater not only to tourists visiting the area, but to residents as well. Community rooms will be available to individuals and organizations, and folks will be able to grab Kahwa coffee and a snack in the café.
The center will also provide a safe space for LGBT youth, said Larry Biddle, director of center development.
Startlingly, “40 percent of homeless youth are LGBT,” he said. The hope is the Welcome Center will become one of the first places these youths turn to for assistance. “We want to connect people to the services they need.”
So far, Metro has raised about $50,000 for the renovations needed to open the Welcome Center by June’s St. Pete Pride festivities. They have about another $100,000 to go, hopefully by the end of April to keep the construction timeline on track, Biddle said. Some renovations, mostly to the donated structure’s front porch area, will begin soon.
Metro’s March 2 Academy Award-viewing party will offer attendees the chance to donate to the project while watching the movie industry’s biggest annual event, this year hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. There will be food, drinks, paparazzi and, of course, a red carpet.
The movie-centric menu is inspired by the likes of Catherine Deneuve (crab and brie phyllo wraps), Salma Hayek (Mexican lasagna) and Bollywood (chicken tikki masala).
The event begins at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door. To purchase tickets, go here.