March has been a dramatic month for Palm Springs residents, bringing rain showers, three St. Patrick’s Day fatalities, and a scandalous murder trial all in the course of a few weeks. Thankfully, the desert city and LGBTQ+ oasis is looking to make some positive moves in the near future when it comes to protecting their younger inhabitants. On Monday, March 12, the newest Sanctuary Palm Springs location opened its doors to LGBTQ+-identifying youth looking for transitional housing and foster homes. The facility, co-founded by LD Thompson and David Rothmiller, doesn’t just help provide a safe space for queer kids from the ages of 18 to 21. It helps to actually give queer kids a way to create a life for themselves in the adult world after exiting the foster care system.
Thompson told the Desert Sun that when the young residents first come to Sanctuary, some of them don’t have bank accounts, drivers licenses or any form of identification. Many of the kids also come to Sanctuary with emotional and mental baggage due to years of living in unhealthy or unstable home environments. The space provides temporary housing as well as mental health services to create a full spectrum healing environment for LGBTQ+ kids looking to build a life for themselves after foster care.
Sanctuary is more than just a new institution in Palm Springs: Only a few weeks old, it’s already become a family affair. The Desert AIDS Project vouched to pitch in with free medical and dental care for Sanctuary inhabitants, as well as providing job services and help with vocational training. Other Palm Springs residents helped out with decoration to give the space a unique, homey feel.
Councilmember Lisa Middleton, one of the newest additions to Palm Springs all-LGBTQ+ city council, spoke on the powerful advantages of having such a facility in the heart of the city. “There are, across our country, many, many youth at risk, and so many of them are LGBT,” she said. ” What we have here is a place of refuge and a place of safety.”
Sanctuary seems to be part of a larger Palm Springs trend that’s making way for new community-focused buildings and complexes in the city. Just last month, plans were announced for a possible LGBTQ+ retirement complex in Palm Springs to open as early as next year. With Palm Springs all-queer city council setting the tone for progress, chances are we can expect to see more queer-friendly city planning, programming, and legislation in the coming months.