Sweet Evening Breeze Inc., is committed to Louisville’s youth experiencing homelessness by going beyond the expectations of shelter, hope, and healing. It was James Herndon “Sweets,” a Kentucky historical figure whose hospitality and compassion for others inspired our purpose and vision to offer LGBTQ+ affirming emergency shelter, food and supportive services for youth who may experience homelessness and find themselves in need of inclusive resources.
The youth shelter strives to provide Louisville’s youth experiencing homelessness with an open and affirming environment, and are committed to empowering and connecting their residents to vital resources while facilitating their community engagement through the promotion of socially just services, education, and care.
Planned services include a day program, shelter, case management, referrals, and mental health services for youth ages 18-24. Additionally, we will in engage in research to develop and promote promising practices to help inform interventions for the population.
Today, the organization announced that they have secured an administrative office space at the corner of Fourth and Oak streets in Old Louisville.
The office opens in June, but Sweet Evening Breeze will not be offering services through this office.
According to an email, the non-profit is still pre-operational, however the administrative space allows the board of directors to continue their planning efforts. They have submitted their 501c3 application for review, but until then, The Community Foundation of Louisville will act as their fiscal sponsor.
The board also stated in their email that Plymouth Congregational Church offered the Plymouth Settlement House as a location for the shelter, but Sweet Evening Breeze will be pursuing another location.
Directors are working with a realtor to identify a location and are open to ideas from the public.
“As a part of our continued development, we are eager to find a space where we may begin providing LGBTQ+ affirming services and support for youth experiencing homelessness,” the email said.
WHO IS SWEET EVENING BREEZE?
James “Sweet Evening Breeze” Herndon, was a pioneer in the LGBTQ community. Sweet Evening Breeze was born in Scott County, KY in 1892 and was considered by some to be the originator of the Lexington drag scene. After growing up in the Good Samaritan Hospital, Sweet Evening Breeze worked as an orderly for more than forty years.
Sweet Evening Breeze was well liked in the Lexington Community and known to participate in random acts of kindness such as baking cookies for people or giving poorer families shoes. During the 1940s and 50s when cross-dressing in public was very rare, Sweet Evening Breeze dressed in women’s clothes. Sweet Evening Breeze enjoyed playing the piano, attending church regularly and loved church music. Later in life, Sweet Evening Breeze lived at the Homestead Nursing Center where Sweet Evening Breeze passed in 1983. (Sweet Evening Breeze information cited from the following website: https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/2391)
Sweet Evening Breeze Board Members
Ariel Brooks, CSW – Treasurer
Dr. Cynthia Conley, MSW – Vice Chair
Dr. Maurice Gattis, MSSW – Chair
Dr. Emma Sterrett-Hong, LMFT, Licensed Psychologist
Samantha Reams, CSW – Secretary
Nikki Thornton Brian Wilson
For inquiries, please contact our board chair, Dr. Maurice Gattis at firstname.lastname@example.org