LGBTQ Connect – A New Strategy To Address Homeless & Stable Housing Challenged Individuals

San Francisco’s 2013 Homeless Count identified a total of 7, 350 unsheltered and sheltered persons living in the city on the evening of January 24, 2013.  Of this total, 914 were unaccompanied children and transitional age youth.

29% of the total unsheltered and sheltered individuals self-identified as LGBTQ, prompting a new city strategy to reduce these numbers and increase access to services and support for these individuals.  LGBTQ Connect at the LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street scheduled for October 7, 2013 from 09:00am till 03:00pm will be the first step in that effort.

Individual sleeping in the doorway of a store on Castro Street.

Individual sleeping in the doorway of a store on Castro Street.

LGBTQ Connect builds on the transformative model of Project Homeless Connect (PHC) to create a one day, multiple services event for members of the LGBTQ community who lack stable housing or face barriers that either have, or could, lead to homelessness. Project Homeless Connect, a project of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health (DPH) is partnering with Bevan Dufty of Housing Opportunity, Partnership and Engagement (HOPE) and the AIDS Housing Alliance to use the PCH model in traditional ways (food, housing, counselling, DMV identification) in combination with new ways that reflect the unique needs of LGBTQ individuals and families that are affected by lack of stable housing, discrimination or homelessness. While this event is focused on LGBTQ individuals, no-one will be denied access to services at the event and all are welcome.

The LGBTQ Connect effort recognizes that even the term homeless can be a barrier for some LGBTQ individuals who do not see themselves as homeless, even thought they lack stable housing and therefore may face health, safety and other associated risks.  Drawing on the broadest cross section of community members, LGBTQ Connect will provide an important opportunity to understand whether the priorities and approach of our existing city services, such as reducing chronic homelessness, are as relevant in terms of how LGBTQ individuals experience homelessness or utilize existing services.

LGBTQ Connect is actively seeking service agencies and case management organizations working in this and related areas to help them in organizing and facilitating the first event at the LGBT Community Center, as well as pre-registering possible clients to help them identify service and support needs ahead of the event.   The organizers are requesting support from such agencies in the following ways:

1.  Attend weekly LGBTQ Connect planning meetings

2.  Respond to the participating agency response questions

3.  Share this information with other LGBTQ or homeless service agencies

4.  Let them know if you can pre-register clients at your location

Castro Community On Patrol fully supports this new initiative and we will do all we can to publicize and promote the event.  Our goal of a safer and more secure neighborhood must include those who are transient or lack access to stable housing, food and health care needs, and especially those who fall within the 914 children and transitional youth category as they are especially at risk.

If you would like to attend LGBTQ Connect as a participating agency, please contact Program Assistant, Christine Keener (Christine.Keener@sfgov.org) bySeptember 16, 2013 to confirm your attendance. Space is limited, so it’s very important that you let us know you’re coming.

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