Sacramento LGBT Community Center
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Organization Details

Programs

Description
The Sacramento LGBT Community Center has provided health and wellness support to the most marginalized, advocated for equality and justice, and worked to build a culturally rich community LGBTQ+ community for more than 30 years.

Our programs, partnerships, and events strive to create a region where LGBTQ+ people thrive. We work to build a healthier community by offering peer support groups, mental health respite, and homeless drop-in for youth and adults, community resource referrals, sexual health education, HIV testing and prevention services. We advocate for equity and justice, economic empowerment, family building, and LGBTQ+ research. We participate in a variety of regional task forces, advisory panels, and working groups to ensure collaboration across agencies. We produce Sacramento Pride, an annual commemoration of the Stonewall Riots and celebration of diversity and a number of community building events throughout the year.
Budget
$2,076,597
Program Successes
- Our three decades of service and average of 40,000 service visits annually provide anecdotal evidence of our success through the stories of lives we have changed.
Description
Health & Wellness:
As the largest LGBTQ+ organization in the region, uniquely qualified to offer experienced support, the Center's health and wellness programs help LGBTQ+ people lead healthier, happier lives. The Center provides a vital safety net for the LGBTQ community in all its diversity and a safe, welcoming place where individuals can find help as well as hope, when they need it most. Services focus both on direct assistance and prevention. We offer community resource navigation, mental health, sexual health, youth-centered programs, and housing. All our services are free or low-cost.

Community Resource Navigation:
Since the Center's founding, it has been a trusted source of referrals to service providers that understand and affirm LGBTQ identities and our unique needs. Our Community Resources Program provides one on one assistance in English and Spanish to medical and mental health providers, employment, housing, public benefits, identification documents, homeless services, professional services, and social clubs.

Mental Health:
For people dealing with any issue that feels beyond their control, including depression, anxiety, victimization, and relationships issues, we offer mental health respite twice a week, where clients can take a break from the stressors of their life and de-escalate their mental health conditions to prevent a break that could lead to hospitalization or incarceration. They can talk candidly and comfortably with staff and volunteer advocates to learn coping strategies and gain access to additional mental health services through referral.

LGBTQ+ people experience trauma and violence at significantly higher rates than the general population. LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth. 40 percent of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt.

The Center offers crisis intervention and individualized counseling for people who have been victims of crime. We offer more than a dozen facilitated peer support groups for those newly coming out, queer people of color, LGBTQ+ elders, people living with HIV, transgender individuals, and other specialized sub-populations. The Center also hosts multiple 12-step addiction recovery groups each week.

Sexual Health:
Since the earliest days of the epidemic, the Center provided confidential assistance and services for those living with HIV/AIDS. One out of eight people who are HIV-positive and living in the U.S. don't know it. As of 2015, 71% of those newly diagnosed with HIV in Sacramento County are gay or bisexual men. We're working to lower that percentage by offering free HIV/STD testing at our Midtown office, on-location at a half dozen partner agencies, and in suburban and rural areas thought the region with our Mobile Outreach Unit. Those who test positive are quickly linked to medical care and those whose results are negative are educated on prevention strategies including Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).

Center staff focus on prevent new infections through in-person and digital outreach campaigns targeting young Black and Latinx gay and bisexual men and transgender women at highest risk. We conduct sexual health education workshops for LGBTQ+ youth, distribute free condoms and lube at the center, in the community, and via our Prophylaxis Parcel Project (P3). Staff also educate healthcare providers on how to have culturally affirming conversations about gender specific needs and sexual practices with LGBTQ community members in order to improve patient care.

Q-Spot Youth Programs:
The Center offers all LGBTQIA+ youth ages 13-24 the help they need to reach their full potential. Q-Spot youth program offers a brave space 7-days a week to hang out, be around a community of other LGBTQ+ and allied peers, play video games, watch TV, have snacks, do homework, or get help with job applications and financial aid. Youth receive social and emotional support through mental health respite, peer mentorship, and four weekly support groups.

The Q-Spot also offers an LGBTQ library, computer lab, and life-skills workshops and youth-centered advocacy and enrichment events/activities including: Q-Prom, Q-Spot Live at Pride, LGBTQ Movie Nights, Field Trips, Holiday Celebrations, Leadership and Advocacy Conferences.

Youth experiencing homelessness can also access support services including showers, laundry, meals, clothing, survival supplies, case management, legal aide, counseling, community resource referrals, and victim services. Without a mobile phone, computer, or internet service low-income or homeless youth can experience barriers to education, employment, or staying connected to a support system. In partnership with LGBT Tech and PowerON the Center puts free technology like phones, chargers, laptops, and USB drives in the hands of youth in order to help them succeed and thrive.

Housing Services:
On any given day, there are more than 700 youth (ages 24 and younger) living on the streets and along the river in Sacramento; in California, a staggering 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ. The majority become homeless as a result of family rejection and nearly all of them will be victimized by violence, drugs, sexual assault and human trafficking in their first weeks on the street.

We launched our housing program in 2018, offering emergency shelter via short-term hotel stays and a 6-bed Transitional Living Program (TLP), where youth ages 18-24 who have been victims of crime can stay up to 24-months while establishing self-sufficiency through stable housing, intensive case management, counseling, transportation, employment services, life skills workshops, and establishment of a support system that they can maintain after exiting the program.

In 2019 we expanded our housing options to offer a 12-bed Short-term Transitional Emergency Program (STEP) where they are provided 90-days of shelter, meals, clothing, transportation, assistance obtaining identification documents, case management, medical and mental health services, and establish a level of safety and stability as youth prepare for the next step in their transition to more permanent housing.

In 2019, we also piloted a Host Home Program to provide bridge housing in the homes of 10 community hosts, where youth will receive stable housing, social/emotional support, and case management. Youth who may couch surfing while going to school, recently kicked out of their family home, or exiting an emergency shelter program at eminent risk of returning to homelessness can stay an average of 6-months in this program while making progress toward their life goals.
Budget
$684,773
Program Successes
Impact Narrative:
Most youth experiencing homelessness are eager to talk to our advocates or case managers when they come to our Q-Spot youth drop-in center. They tell hair-raising and heartbreaking stories of parental rejection, substance abuse, violent assault, the sex industry, and sleeping under bridges and in cars that are left unlocked. Zach was different. He walked through our doors with nothing but the clothes on his back, and the look on his face told the story of hopelessness. We gave him a bag lunch and he sat down in the corner and dug into that sandwich like he hadn't eaten in days.

He still wouldn't say much and we didn't press it. His emotional scars were deep and may have prevented him from opening up or getting along with others. He did accept some new clothes and survival supplies and we were hopeful when he showed up at the Q-Spot again the next day. Zach took a shower and felt the day's challenges begin to wash away. He nourished himself, received fresh clothes and talked, a little hesitantly at first. And he continued to visit every day thereafter (the Q-Spot is open seven days a week). He began to look like an 18-year-old boy again.

We still didn't know where he went each night after leaving the Q-Spot but each day he spoke a little more to Kelsie, our peer youth advocate. One morning when they were talking he got up from the table quickly and stormed out the door. We thought that was the last we'd see of Zach, but a couple of days later, he stood at the Q-Spot door and asked for Kelsie. They went into a room and closed the door. They stayed there for hours. Eventually, Kelsie came out with a big smile on her face and said Zach would be attending our youth support group that night. We gave Zach the meal we had been saving for him.

At the Center, Zach found much more than a safe place to hang out. He found a home and a family. Day by day, month by month, over the course of a year, staff built a relationship and his attitude toward life changed. He went from struggling to survive on the street to being stably housed. Through our support groups and events, Zach's mental health began to improve, and he found inspiration for future possibilities. He started to think about not just getting by, but a career -- a dream job. He started thinking about his future and his aspirations.

Zach found his "chi" at the Center. He's remains a part of our day-to-day lives even as we share this story. He's even explored new hobbies. He's an avid bike rider, runner, and loves exploring mindfulness and meditation in his free time. Inspired by the support of the Center, Zach volunteered to join our 2018 team as a rider for the NorCal AIDS Cycle. He and a group of staff, volunteers, and supporters spent days training for this four-day ride across Northern California, raising funds and educating the public on issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. At the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Zach found much more than a facility.

From just barely surviving each day on the street, toward believing in a brighter future, and even giving back to his community, Zach's story exemplifies our mission to create a region where LGBTQ+ people are not only safe and welcome, but able to thrive together.

Impact Outcomes:
- 1,010 emergency and transitional nights for youth experiencing homelessness
- 2,196 clients accessed support groups
- 1,124 received mental health respite
- 290 people tested for HIV/HCV
- 42,638 safer sex supplies distributed
Description
The Center works to build a culturally rich LGBTQ+ community through a variety of sponsored and collaborative community building events each year. Our community building programs are designed to provide a sense of belonging, affirming visibility, and support amongst chosen friends and family.


Sacramento Pride:
The Sacramento Pride March and Festival is the largest demonstration of activism and celebration of diversity and inclusion in the region. Taking center stage on Capitol Mall, LGBTQ+ community members and our allies of every age, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ability, and religion come together to celebrate how far we have come in the equality movement, but also to demonstrate how much further we have to go to achieve cultural affirmation and social equity.

Events & Activities:
We also support the personal growth of individuals through educational and life-enriching activities. In addition to Sacramento Pride, the Center hosts dozens of events annually including Q-Prom, Transgender Day of Visibility activities, a Friendsgiving shared community meal, Camp Camp: an LGBTQ+ summer camp, Out at the State Fair, World AIDS Day, film screenings, educational workshops, town hall meetings, artist showcases, an SVGLS softball team, amongst many others. We also work with outside organizations to increase visibility and provide community building opportunities through events such as equality nights in partnership with local professional sports teams.

Community Space:
The Center serves as a community hub and gathering space in times of celebration and tragedy. We provide access to information and resources on our community bulletin boards and through our on-site computer lab. The Lambda Lounge and conference room are available at low to no-cost for community groups to use for their board meetings, events, support programs, or other community engagement purposes.

Volunteer Opportunities:
The Center provides opportunities for LGBTQ+ people and allies to engage with our community to learn, give something back, and feel empowered to work toward solving the challenges and disparities facing the LGBTQ+ population. We offer volunteer opportunities for ongoing direct service working directly with clients, general office administrative activities, outreach and events, fundraising and event planning. We also offer and a variety of high school, undergraduate, and graduate volunteer internships. We also offer two paid internships, a Thousand Strong high school internship in partnership with the Sacramento Stonewall Foundation and an outreach internship in partnership with the California Endowment Building Healthy Communities Initiative.
Budget
$349,744
Program Successes
- 18,000+ participants demonstrating activism and celebrating community and love at Sacramento Pride.
- Hosted 36 community building events, including Camp Camp, Q-Prom, Out at the Fair, and Friendsgiving.
- Created Melanin Movement, Trans Family Day, and Latinx Sin Fronteras to support trans women of color.

Description
The Center is an advocate for equity and social justice within and external to the LGBTQ+ community, acknowledging that our identities as LGBTQ+ people are intersectional and breaking down systems of oppression that harm the most marginalized amongst us, benefits all of us. We work to increase visibility, understanding, and access to services for LGBTQ+ people throughout the Sacramento region.

Individual Advocacy & Legal Assistance:
The Center acts as an advocate and convener of support for individual community members who have been the victim of bias or hate related incidents. We offer free legal consultations twice monthly in partnership with Northern California Legal Services and the Family Justice Center, crime victim services, and help navigating media.

Public Policy & Community Organizing:
We advocate locally and nationally for policies, funding streams, and cultural change that advance the health and wellness of our diverse community. Center leaders engage in civic leader education, submit letters of support/opposition, and provide expert testimony before legislative bodies. We also engage in rapid response and targeted media and constituent contact campaigns.

Center representatives contribute on more than two dozen regional coalitions, committees, boards, and task forces on issues ranging from homelessness and HIV prevention to environmental justice and youth development. We promote LGBTQ+ representation on appointed boards and committees and engage in leadership development activities and provide technical assistance for young activists and LGBTQ+ organizations in order to empower future movement leaders.

Outreach & Training Institute:
We are a subject matter expert on LGBTQ+ competencies and provide educational programs and consultation on a wide variety of sub-topics. We conduct outreach activities and provide training for healthcare providers, schools, law enforcement, social service agencies, faith communities, and large and small employers to create safer and more affirming communities and increase awareness of resources.

Queer Voices:
This panel of LGBTQ+ identified youth and adults, as well as ally parents share stories of coming out, love, acceptance, and their lived experiences as a queer individual. These stories are showcased in educational, artistic, and support spaces throughout Sacramento to increase visibility and understanding.
Budget
$50,000
Program Successes
The sidewalk in front of the Center is the spot where dozens of press conferences have taken place when we were fighting Proposition 8, Don't Ask Don't Tell, and when a young man named Satender Singh was killed in 2007 here in Sacramento because he was gay. All around the building and spilling into the street, hundreds of people have gathered for numerous candlelight vigils to mourn the loss of our community members and a lack of equality under the law. Just last year, right around the corner in the heart of Lavender Heights, the Center coordinated a rally the day after the Orlando massacre where over 1,000 people, along with elected officials and religious leaders, came to stand up and speak out against such hatred and violence.

"Following the Pulse massacre, and certainly after the election, I have not felt safe in my own community. I don't know who I can trust with my true self."

Center staff and board members are engaged many regional boards, task forces, and coalitions including:
- California Dialogue On Cancer
- California LGBT Health and Human Services Network
- HIV-Affected Communities Committee
- HIV Health Services Planning Council
- Sacramento Homeless Youth Task Force
- Sacramento Homeless Youth Task Force LGBTQ committee
- Sacramento Unified School District LGBT Task Force
- Suicide Prevention Task Force
- Mental Health Services Community Planning Workgroup
- UC Davis Medical Center LGBTQI Cancer Health Task Force
- U.S. Attorney's Office Hate Crimes Task Force
- Rainbow Chamber of Commerce
- Sacramento Stonewall
- Midtown Business Association
- Impact Foundry
- CenterLink
- HealthLink

Last year we advocated for 39 public policy changes and 115 legal clinic clients. We also trained 4,492 educators, healthcare workers, employers, and community service providers in cultural humility.