The Metro: Clairmount Center provides housing and support for Detroit’s LGBTQ+ youths

“The Metro” co-host Tia Graham spoke with Ruth Ellis Center Executive Director Mark Erwin about how the Clairmount Center supports Detroit’s LGBTQ+ youths.

Clairmount Center ribbon cutting ceremony

Community members celebrated the grand opening of the Clairmount Center in Detroit during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 7, 2022.

Detroit’s Ruth Ellis Center has been serving and supporting LGBTQ+ youth and young adults in the city since 1991. With a mission to continue supporting the community’s needs, they opened the Clairmont Center in October 2022.

The facility provides housing, healthcare and more services all in one location. The Metro co-host Tia Graham spoke with Ruth Ellis Center Executive Director Mark Erwin about how the Clairmount Center is saving lives.

For the first time in the city’s history, Detroit has a housing program designed to meet the needs of transgender women. Erwin said 40% of all homeless people identify as LGBTQ+. With this program, the REC is showing ways to reduce the number of LGBTQ+ community members living on the streets.

“There’s a huge gap in resources,” Erwin said. “But we’re incredibly excited that Detroit embraced Clairmount Center, and recognize the need for supportive services to meet the growing demand for LGBTQ youth who are experiencing this.”

Along with the social services offered, Clairmount Center residents can find a cafe, beauty bar, shared community spaces and private areas.

The Ruth Ellis Institute — taking the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community to improve U.S. systems of care — will provide training and develop curriculum for Michigan social workers interacting with LGBTQ+ youths in the community. The curriculum is called “Asking about SOGIE,” or sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Erwin said having conversations that center on SOGIEl is important, especially with many U.S. systems not accounting for issues LGBTQ+ people face.

More headlines from The Metro on Feb. 6: 

  • The $20 million “Detroit Home Repair Fund” had a goal to inspect 1,000 homes and assess repair needs in 2022. Detroit Free Press reporter Nushrat Rahman says over after 14,000 people are now on their waitlist. WDET’s Pat Batcheller spoke to Rahman about her latest article. 
  • Today I Learned: Happy birthday to the city of Livonia, established on this day in 1950. The municipality changed from a township to a city for gambling and horse racing. Michigan banned horse racing at the State Fair Grounds and the Detroit Racing Course was built in Livonia. As a city, they’d recoup $500,000 annually from the race course.
  • MichMash: Michigan State House Primary special elections were last week. There’s now 54 republican and 54 Democratic State Senators. As part of WDET’s politics podcast MichMash, host Cheyna Roth and Gongwer News Service’s Aletheia Kasban spoke with State Sen. Aric Nesbitt on the Republican agenda for 2024 in Lansing.   
  • Jeff Milo has been on WDET’s airwaves for over eight years. He’ll now bring you the best music in Michigan on his new show MI Local every Tuesday from 9-10 p.m. WDET’s Rob Reinhart talks with Milo on what listeners can expect from his new program.

Listen to The Metro weekdays from 11 a.m. to noon on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand at

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