Phoenix’s Southwest Center awarded grant to fund gender-expansive support program
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Phoenix’s Southwest Center has been awarded a grant of more than $150,000 from Mercy Care to fund its gender-expansive Housing Support Program.
The Center has been serving Valley LGBTQ+ community members and beyond by offering primary, mental and overall wellness healthcare out of their downtown Phoenix location. One of the Center’s programs centers around ensuring that LGBTQ+ people experiencing housing insecurity won’t have to put their health to the side in order to afford the cost of living. Each person needing help is able to meet with a case manager who will create a comprehensive, individualized transition plan, plug the individual into a harm reduction program, talk about options, and help them plan ahead for the future.
The Mercy C.A.R.E.S. Community Reinvestment Program grant will expand the Center’s pre-existing program so it can support 24 clients over the next three years. “Lack of awareness, ignorance, or hate directly leads to violence,” says Christie MacMurray, the adult system of care administrator at Mercy Care. “With this grant, we hope to not only support Southwest Center in changing lives but also in saving them.”
Even among LGBTQ youth, 71% of all transgender youth report that they’ve experienced discrimination because of their gender identity, according to the 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health. The Center is trying to stop that from happening to anyone else in the Valley. Jessyca Leach, executive director of the Southwest Center, said, “All too often, housing insecurity creates additional healthcare challenges, and people are often forced to sacrifice their health – both mental and physical – to ensure they can pay rent.”
Statistics by The Trevor Project have shown that LGBTQ+ individuals who have access to affirming healthcare, housing, and community programs are significantly less likely to attempt or die by suicide. According to recent studies, one in every five transgender individuals in the U.S. have been discriminated against while looking for housing and one in every 10 has been evicted because of their gender identity.
If you or a loved one are looking for affirming healthcare in the Valley, nutrition programs, specialized HIV/STI healthcare and support, click here to learn about what’s available at the Southwest Center.
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.