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The Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center announces its presence with a four-story mural of its namesake. 

The Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center announces its presence with a four-story mural of its namesake. 

Photo: Zach Mortice/Bloomberg CityLab

CityLab
Design

In Detroit, a Home for LGBTQ Youth Balances Being Seen With Being Safe

With a mix of health services and affordable housing, the new Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center seeks to provide a secure space for a uniquely vulnerable community.

When the Ruth Ellis Center, a Detroit nonprofit that helps support LGBTQ youth, began a foster care program 10 years ago, they kept it very quiet; no press release, not even a sign on the door.

“We were so afraid of how the community would react,” says Mark Erwin, Ruth Ellis’s co-executive director.