NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans could soon be home to the nation’s first refuge for homeless transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

The House of Tulip has put in a bid on some properties that they hope to renovate for their sanctuary, founders Mariah Moore and Milan Nicole Sherry told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate.

As of Sunday afternoon, an online fundraiser showed that 5,100 people had given over $280,000 of the $400,000 organizers say is needed to buy and begin restoring the property.

Moore, now an organizer for the Transgender Law Center, said a place like House of Tulip could have changed her life when she was a young transgender woman and became a sex worker without a permanent home.

“Imagine if you had your own small safe place, surrounded by people who are there to protect you,” she said.

Organizers say it would be more than a shelter. Ideally, said Moore, occupants would eventually be able to rent, and then to buy, the houses. Ultimately, they say, the House of Tulip — for “Trans United Leading Intersection-al Progress” — could build new small homes to expand its work.

The project grew out of one to raise money for gender nonconforming hospitality and service workers whose employers had closed or scaled back because of stay-home orders. It raised $20,000.

Sherry, 28, said she envisions the House of Tulip in 10 years as a place that the transgender community can “take care of ourselves.”

She is is a co-founder of BreakOUT!, an activist organization for LGBT youths in New Orleans.

With the House of Tulip, “we’re fighting for a space in a world that doesn’t see us as valuable, that doesn’t see our humanity,” she said.'

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