(PIKEVILLE, KY) – LGBTQ+ Eastern Kentuckians have long lacked spaces designated specifically for them to gather in a safe and friendly environment; however, one individual, backed by a supportive community, is hoping to change that.
London native Tasha Sams, and a team of others, are working to bring HOME Appalachia to life.
HOME Appalachia is an arts and entertainment venue concept that will be welcoming to all and would be a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
“When we think about development and growth, we know that diversity is integral to innovation. When we restrict who can participate, we restrict which problems can be solved — and most importantly, how they are solved,” Sams said. “The lack of diversity, and of welcoming people and communities, not only holds us back, but nearly ensures that the problems we face will never be solved in a sustainable way. The data is clear. Too many Eastern Kentuckians have left in order to find acceptance and community, when their talent and skill are needed. It’s time to go HOME.”
Home Appalachia is seeking funding through various channels to make this project come to life. Sams launched a Kickstarter campaign today for the business to crowdsource funding to contribute to the project’s acceleration. Those interested in supporting the cause can learn more and donate here: HOME Appalachia.
Sams has been meeting with local leaders, entrepreneurs, and community members in the Pikeville area and beyond to gain support, research locations, and gather ideas on what the community would like to see in the business.
Jeffery Justice, Business Retention and Expansion Manager for the City of Pikeville, helped Sams scout some downtown properties to house the business.
“We are glad that Tasha has decided to look to Pikeville for this venue. Tasha has a wealth of entrepreneurial experience that would lend itself well to our community as we build capacity for our local businesses to scale and grow,” Justice said.
Additionally, Sams has been working with Ryan Jones, Director of Innovation at Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), to strengthen the buildout and to incorporate new ideas.
Sams said the project is on track to be completed within the next year and will be able to welcome individuals to Pikeville from all across the region. For more information about HOME Appalachia, or how you can help make the business succeed, contact HOME Appalachia at homeky.co