Shipbuilders representing STRIDE stand with officials from the LGBT Life Center in Norfolk.

Shipbuilders’ Donations Support LGBT Life Center

Published January 19, 2022

Newport News shipbuilders donated monetary gifts and 12 move-in kits containing everything from bedding, toiletries, cookware and cleaning supplies required for daily living to the LGBT Life Center in Norfolk.

NNS’ Shipbuilders Together Realizing Inclusion Diversity and Equality (STRIDE) employee resource group led the effort. Ariel Matthews, STRIDE chair; and Tina Lawrence, STRIDE chair of Community Outreach, delivered the donations. The Life Center provides a safe space and support to the LGBTQ community, while also providing permanent housing for LGBTQ and HIV-positive individuals to achieve economic stability, social self-reliance and better health.

Virginia does not currently have a statewide housing shortage, but there are local warning signs. The incomes of many lower-paid workers have not kept pace with increases in rent.

To complicate matters, not all homeless shelters are accommodating to the LGBTQ community, which “has a much higher homeless rate than the overall community,” Lawrence said. “Studies have shown that 40% of homeless youth are part of the LGBTQ community…who at best make up 12% of the general population. Thanks to the generosity of shipbuilders during the holiday season, there are fewer homeless LGBTQ people in Hampton Roads.”