The University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women, has received a $1.2 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to address homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth and young adults.
SIROW has just launched the ANCHOR Project in partnership with CODAC Behavioral Health Services and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, according to a press release from the University of Arizona. ANCHOR stands for Accessible Network for Coordinated Housing, Opportunities and Resilience. With the federal grant, SIROW also has opened a project site in central Tucson.
The UA-led project will be funded over a three-year period to target unstably housed LGBTQ adults ages 18 through 26.
The UA-led team will offer services that promote housing stability, community engagement, recovery support, education completion and healthy decision-making. Participants also will have the option to engage in services related to employment skills and financial education, according to the statement.
“There aren’t too many programs nationally that are comparable,” said Claudia Powell, a research social scientist with SIROW and the ANCHOR Project’s principal investigator, noting that while different organizations and agencies may provide housing stability, sexual health and substance abuse support, they often do not incorporate job readiness and education.
Of course, most of the money will go to staff. The team intends to will provide agency staff with training on ways to help prevent instances of discrimination and to provide safe spaces for youth and young adults.
The ANCHOR Project grew out of earlier SIROW projects, including HerStory and iTEAM, which have provided previously unavailable information about the experiences of LGBTQ youth, particularly related to housing stability, abuse and other trauma and also habits related to substance abuse.
The project will provide a trauma-informed system of care to ensure that LGBTQ young adults are supported in their efforts to make empowered choices, increasing the likelihood that they are able to lead healthy and successful lives.
Estimates indicate that 20 to 40 percent of those who are between the ages of 18 and 24 who are homeless in Tucson identify as LGBTQ.