When Phiwa Langeni returned to Greater Lansing after being gone for 10 years, the ordained Christian minister noticed a general gap in the services, resources and gathering spaces available for the LGBTQ community.
In September, Langeni will open the doors to a nonprofit center that looks to fill that gap.
Named for the Latin word meaning wholeness or well-being, the Salus Center will provide a physical space for LGBTQ individuals, families, friends and allies to gather, find resources, and participate in activities and services. The comprehensive community center will offer education, meeting spaces, medical and housing resources, a Sunday afternoon worship service, and access to holistic services onsite.
"This is a culmination of spaces I've encountered that were useful and transformative to me," says Langeni. "I'm creating an oasis where people can just be their most full and whole selves as LGBTQ folks."
The Salus Center will be open part-time hours beginning September 9, and will be staffed solely by volunteers. The 1,500-square foot space is divided into two main areas with large windows, as well as a smaller community room, office and restrooms. Local artwork will fill the walls, and be changed up through rotating exhibits of local artists.
"Typically, a lot of gathering spaces for LGBTQ people are bars," says Langeni. "Many of those spaces have closed, and that's devastating. But even so, those places only serve a portion of the community. My hope is that this space will increase the age of people who can be here, and offer a type of programming that can bridge gaps between communities."
The Salus Center is located at 624 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing and will host an open house on September 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The center will be open Sunday through Thursday, with hours to be announced. Langeni says the facility may also be rented for events during non-business hours.
The multi-faith Salus Center is supported through donations from the United Church of Christ and private gifts. Grant support is being sought. To find out more about the Salus Center click here.
Source: Phiwa Langeni, Founder, Salus Center
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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