The Secular Safe House: A Refuge for Those Coming Out of Religion

Troy Fitzgerald, who grew up in a religious cult and is now out and proud about his atheism and sexuality, has embarked on a neat project that could really help a lot of people: It’s called Secular Safe House and it’s designed to help those atheists and LGBT individuals who have been kicked out of their homes or just need someone to talk to:

The Mission of Secular Safe House is to provide physical “secular safe houses” via a network of facilities and private homes as well as a virtual community of support via the Internet for those coming out of religion, cults or as LGBT from a religious environment.

We are in the process of building a network of professionals, volunteers, private homes and facilities so that we can provide the following support services for those coming out:

– Access to a transitional facility, lodging or private home as a temporary “safe house” for days, weeks or months as necessary until the next steps in one’s life can be planned out.

– Travel expenses to a safe house when a local one is not available or appropriate.

– Access via video conferencing to professional counseling, if necessary, as well as a network of friends who have run the gauntlet of coming out and can be a listening ear and support.

It’s a nifty project that’ll help a lot of LGBT youth who are homeless right now, as well as the occasional atheist who faces the same situation. It’ll also help a lot of people who just need someone to talk to about their loss of faith. If you’d like to become a volunteer (a safe house provider, assistant, certified counselor, etc), you can contact Troy here. He’s also raising money for the cause.

There are a few things that need to be in place before I can really get behind this project. It needs financial accountability, and Troy tells me he’s working on obtaining a 501(c)(3). It also needs a way to vet the volunteers to make sure they’re trustworthy before anyone can be put in their care. Troy says, “We won’t be offering support to youth until we are properly prepared and liability issues have been addressed. It takes resources and connections to do this, and that’s what we’re working to establish.”

He adds (via email):

Offering support to adults is a different story and less complicated in terms of liability. The support we’re looking to offer is not just housing, however… The need adults have is not always housing, but counseling, group and peer support, etc. — things that aren’t always easily accessible or affordable — and those are things we are putting in place now.

For the time being, he’s just trying to establish the groundwork. It’s a project that has the capacity to help a lot of people, so check it out and please consider pitching in if you’re able.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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