Quest House 2.0 - Trans Post-Op Space
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Quest House Community Healing is a project of the non-profit public charity, Empowerment WORKS.
Quest House offers lodging and supportive caretaking services for transmasculine folks having lower surgery (primarily phalloplasty) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our healing space is unique in that it is hosted and managed by other post-operative trans folks. We are raising funds to help us move into and furnish a larger, 5-bedroom house.
We currently rent out 2 bedrooms on a self-selected sliding scale in a small but beautiful apartment in Sausalito. We've long since outgrown this space and frequently have to turn people away to due to fully booking out our rooms many months in advance. We're really proud of what we accomplished last year, now we're ready to do more! Our plan is to move into a 5+ bedroom house by May 2019. A larger space will not only enable us to host more people, but will also allow a robust community dynamic to take shape in our house amongst the surgical guests and their caretakers, friends, and family assisting them.
Over the past year we've hosted and supported over 25 different folks on the transmasculine spectrum during their phalloplasty and metoidioplasty related surgeries. 1/3 of these guests have already returned for additional stays with us 1 or more times and more are booked with us this coming year. We've also assisted about a dozen other folks outside of Quest House that needed additional support other than lodging while they were in the area. We hope to double these numbers in 2019, but we need your help to make it happen!
So what is phalloplasty!? Phalloplasty is a major reconstructive surgery that creates a penis using highly vascularized, nerve-rich tissue which is harvested from a donor site (usually the forearm or thigh) directly from the patient needing the surgery. In most cases, this is carried out by a large microsurgery team, a reconstructive urologist, and results on average, in a 5-night hospital stay. Four of these days patients are completely bedbound. This surgery requires that the patient stay near their surgical team for about 1 month post-op. During this time the body is in a very vulnerable state, having initially both a suprapubic and foley catheter, skin grafts, extensive wound care, and a splinted arm. People typically require a great deal of assistance to meet their basic needs for the first 7-10 days following hospital discharge.
In the SF Bay Area, there are 3 main teams doing these surgeries. Trans folks travel from all over the world to receive medical care with these world renowned teams. So the need for supportive and affordable post-op lodging in one of the most expensive locations in the country, is overwhelming! Unfortunately, insurances rarely pay for patients to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility once discharged from the hospital. Quest House Community Healing was born in the heart of our community, out of the need for clean, safe lodging, and compassionate caretaking from people who intimately know what it's like to step through this beautiful but intense rite of passage into wholeness.
We've witnessed firsthand how meaningful these connections are among our guests with others going through a similar life transition - you can read some of our heartfelt GUEST REVIEWS here.
Our current rent costs alone are about $3,500 and will be increasing to around $5,500 in our larger house. Our ultimate goal is to be able to provide lodging on a donation basis, with no one turned away due to lack of funds. There are many many barriers for trans folks to access non-discriminatory healthcare coverage. Just obtaining inclusive health insurance can feel insurmountable. But inclusive health insurance alone isn't enough when you also need to budget for multiple months off work, airfare, lodging, medical supplies, etc. Quest House exists to help to make this process easier, less isolating, and more affordable.
We run our program on a bare bones model to keep costs low for our guests. Our closets are full of donated medical supplies and assistive devices that are free. We also collaborate with local non-profit HOMOBILES who helps provide donation-based transportation to our folks. Homobiles brings many of our guests to their post-op appointments, grocery stores, pharmacies, airport, etc.
THE BREAKDOWN: This is a list of our upcoming anticipated expenses for projects and next steps and the ways we intend to allocate our funds. Listed in order of which they will be funded dependent on the amount of money we ultimately raise.
* GOFUNDME TRANSACTION FEES (2.9%) = $1,392
* FISCAL SPONSORSHIP FEE (5%) = $2,330
* MOVE-IN COSTS (first, last, security) $11,500
* MOVING COSTS (trucks, movers, packing supplies, mandatory professional carpet cleaning on current unit before move out) $2,000
* FURNISHINGS (3 extra bedrooms and dining room) = $3,500
* LIABILITY INSURANCE (annual) = $2,778
* EMERGENCY FUNDS = $5,000
To be used when we have last min lodging cancellations. Our guest's payment for lodging just barely covers our basic program expenses. When we have last min cancellations (due to health insurance policies denying folks coverage) this translates to lost rent money for us. We'd like to establish a designated emergency fund for this so that we don't have to stress so much about whether we'll be able to cover our next month's rent.
* HOUSEKEEPING (annual) = $6,500
All house cleaning, maintenance, and turning over of guest bedrooms has been done by Meiko for the past year. This is a time consuming task and Quest House leadership hopes to free up our house host with the intention of using that time to work on grant applications and other Quest House management tasks. Our plan is to hire a weekly housekeeper.
* SCHOLARSHIPS (100 nights of lodging) = $7,500
Lodging for low income guests distributed through an application process. This coming year we'd like to give out one scholarship per quarter to cover the costs of a guest's month-long stay at Quest House. This is our first step towards both lowering costs and our ultimate goal of creating free lodging for our guests.
* HOUSE-HOST, & ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF STIPEND = $5,500
Quest House has been primarily run by Meiko Xavier for the past year who lives and works out of the house, earns an average of $3/hr for his work on this project, and has a makeshift "bedroom" curtained off in the living room. Extra funds will help bring his pay closer to a living wage so that he can continue to give his attention to this cause and grow this resource for others. We would also like to be able to hire other post-op house hosts/caretakers to allow for a rotation of staff which keeps our leadership refreshed while role modeling the same self-care practices that we advocate for others.
*** Distribution of Any Funds Raised Above $48,000 =
50% Scholarship Fund
25% Emergency Fund
25% House Host/Caretaking Costs
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