Renita’s

June Crenshaw
Executive Director, Wanda Alston Foundation
(202) 465-8794 | jcrenshaw@wandaalstonfoundation.org

First-Ever DC Housing Program for Trans Men of Color Opening June 2021

Washington, DC: The Wanda Alston Foundation made history in 2008 by opening the first
transitional housing program for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness in Washington,
DC. Thirteen years later, the foundation is making history again by announcing the opening of
their newest facility, Renita’s: a two-bed, two-year transitional housing program focused on
serving transgender men of color.

No other housing program for youth or adults in Washington specifically addressed the needs
and challenges uniquely faced by transgender men of color. Nationwide, few housing programs
focus on trans men of color. At the same time, their rates of experiencing homelessness, systemic
oppression, and barriers to independent living are close to statistics experienced by transgender
women [Source: 2015 USTS “Report on the Experiences of Black Respondents”].

June Crenshaw, WAF’s Executive Director, said, “We know that transgender and gender non-
conforming (T/GNC) folks face additional barriers to obtaining safe and supportive services and housing. We also know that trans men are often forgotten or neglected when services are being
developed; that is why we are thrilled to be able to focus one of our programs directly where it is
needed the most.”

WAF Operations Director Len Williams — a Black trans man and former survivor of
homelessness — spoke as an older peer to potential residents at a panel hosted for Trans Pride.
He shared, “When I was experiencing homelessness, I didn’t know I needed help at the time. I
didn’t have the words, and I believed that my struggle was part of being a man: to figure it out on
my own, no matter the personal or emotional cost. I wanted to be seen as strong and valid, as a
Black man. I now know that I needed and deserved to be supported and helped. I am thrilled that
I am helping to create a supportive space, affirming and focusing on trans men of color. This
pilot program at the Wanda Alston Foundation is a start and makes me feel very proud.”

To develop this never-before-seen housing program for trans men of color in Washington,
Crenshaw and Williams worked with the foundation’s Clinical Director, Human Resources
Specialist, and Case Managers. The team drew from existing service models and statistics on the
challenges for trans men of color experiencing homelessness, including stories of trans men of color in Washington, DC, such as Seth Canada’s pending lawsuit against Friendship Place
Shelter.

Applications are open for potential residents to move in by the end of June 2021. Potential
applicants can email Operations Director Len Williams (he/they) at lwilliams@wandaalstonfoundation.org.

About The Wanda Alston Foundation: The Wanda Alston Foundation was established in 2008
with Wanda’s House, a nine-bed 18-month Transitional Housing program focused on serving
LGBTQ+ youth ages 16 to 24. In June 2020, they opened Alston’s Place — DC’s first Extended
Transitional Housing facility focused on LGBTQ+ youth — a 12-bed facility with up to six years
of housing and support services. WAF programs provide case management and in-house
programming to support residents’ goals for employment, education, improved health and
wellness, life skills training and improving their overall quality of life.

May 25, 2021