WASHINGTON — A homeless shelter for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning LGBTQ youth said it is seeing an increase in clients since the coronavirus hit the D.C. area.
Casa Ruby is taking every measure and doing whatever it can to keep the coronavirus away from its shelter on Georgia Avenue in Northwest D.C.
"We’re cleaning twice in the morning, twice in the afternoon, twice in the evening," Larry Villegas, the deputy executive director of Casa Ruby, told WUSA9.
Casa Ruby is a community center and homeless shelter mainly serving LGBTQ youth in Washington, D.C. Villegas said that the group is providing an important service to those who can be often overlooked.
“Having this service is very important because many people are out on the streets, being homeless, or in a homeless situation,” Villegas said.
The shelter serves three free meals a day to any young person who needs it.
Villegas said the staff has noticed an increase of people coming for help since the coronavirus surfaced.
"It is important for us to be open because our clients have nowhere to go," he said.
Casa Ruby is asking for the community to step in to help them keep up with the demand in services.
Villegas said the shelter needs non-perishable food items, cooked meals, and cleaning supplies.
"We want to reassure everybody that not only will this pass, but also we are here to help," Villegas said.
Many community members have stepped up with donations, and the group is actively accepting more.
Other organizations like Pitch Please, a LGBTQ kickball team with Stonewall Sports, started a Go Fund Me fundraiser for the shelter and community center.
People can also donate items directly to Casa Ruby by dropping them off at 7530 Georgia Avenue NW or donate money by visiting their website.