Published: Monday, April 18 2016
Written by Diversity Richmond
Homelessness in the LGBTQ community is a problem, especially with transgender people. Diversity Richmond has been working hard to build relationships with local and statewide homeless service providers and organizations to educate, train and advocate for affirming policy and service provision for transgender people seeking shelter. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a new guidance last year around appropriate placement and practices for serving trans people experiencing homelessness. This was a definitely a step in the right direction for HUD. There is still so much more work to be done, but national and state policy has begun to shift, albeit slowly. Our Trans Inclusion Shelter Project (TISP) continues to work locally to advocate for trans inclusive shelters, policy, and programs.
Several months ago TISP welcomed new member Nichele Carver, Housing Program Manager with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Nichele has many years of experience advocating for inclusion and accountability in shelter services across ability, race, gender, sexual orientation and family composition. She brings great passion and insight, increasing our capacity to navigate the diverse and intersecting national, state and local homeless service provision systems. We are so happy to have her with us in the fight for trans inclusion.
So, what's next?
We've seen an increase in shelter service providers reaching out to us as of late, seeking training, information or assistance around making their shelters safe and inclusive for trans people. Many of these connections are possible new relationships and potentially welcome conversations. In response to these recent inquiries, it is our goal to develop a two-part statewide webinar. The webinars will be designed to engage trans and queer organizations and communities and homeless service provider organizations and communities around the issues faced by trans people experiencing homelessness, and examine how we can move affirming and inclusive shelter policy and practice forward in our own Virginia communities. We are very excited and hope to be rolling out the companion webinars sometime this spring (fingers crossed)!
Trans Inclusion Shelter Project is a program of Diversity Richmond, dedicated to affecting policy and practice change through homeless shelter and service systems. We are advocates, direct service providers, policy social workers and researchers, working in LGBTQ and/or homeless service agencies and capacities, informed by the voices and experiences of trans folks who have experienced homelessness or have been unstably housed. We advocate for all persons experiencing homelessness to receive culturally competent services based in personal dignity, in congruence with individual's gender identity(s). We work to support trans folks experiencing homelessness, along with homeless shelter service providers through policy change, training, outreach and advocacy. For more information, please contact Debra Terry 804-622-4646 ex.203 or by email
Pictured L to R: Rae Obejero, Homeless Transition Specialist, Homeless Point of Entry; Dr. Alex Wagaman, Assistant Professor, VCU School of Social Work; Afton Bradley, Trans Health Services Program Manager, Fan Free Clinic; Taheara Jackson, HIV Test Counselor, Minority Health Consortium; Debra Terry, Program Coordinator, Diversity Richmond