The Shelter project was started in 2014 as a response to the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea. The main impetus for the opening of Shelter was the numerous appeals for help from LGBTI people who wanted to escape the war. We received the first requests from LGBTI people actively involved in the fight for the integrity of Ukraine.
The most difficult phase was finding shelter for Shelter and trying to persuade landlords to rent LGBTI people who are also displaced persons. This process took over a month. Unfortunately, it can be argued that this was the case of multiple discrimination against persons belonging to several discriminated groups at the same time. When we were able to find an apartment for rent, the market value was higher than we expected..
After Shelter was opened, LGBTI people from the East of Ukraine, Crimea and adjacent territories collided with us. During the lifetime of the project (20/06/2014 - 31/08/2019), we received over 300 applications and were able to shelter 112 people, including 35 lesbians, 36 gay men, 8 bisexuals, and 33 transgender persons.
The primary purpose of the Shelter Project was to provide rapid and effective assistance to LGBTI people in the war in the East of Ukraine, occupation of the Crimea, and those affected by violence and discrimination on the basis of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. List of services we provided free of charge: accommodation up to 3 months, some food, public transportation cards, basic first aid kit, psychological counseling, legal and document assistance, job search and socialization assistance in a new place.
Unfortunately, the biggest problem for us was finding permanent funding for this project, so most of the time it was funded from our own funds and crowdfunding. We had to constantly raise funds, ask for help with home appliances, kitchenware and others in the LGBTI community and support Shelter at our own expense with members of Insight Public organization.
In 2018, we were able to collect the stories of several people who lived in Shelter and make this publication.