The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it have upended the lives of many, especially those who already find themselves in precarious circumstances–like those of Center Global’s program participants, LGBT asylum seekers. Center Global has acted quickly in the past few weeks to provide additional social and financial support to its program participants through creating virtual community, engaging in individual outreach, and providing direct financial assistance.
To tend to program participants’ social and community needs, Center Global began hosting weekly Zoom hangouts on Thursday nights. Hosted by Geoffrey Louden, Center Global’s Vice-Chair, the weekly hangouts are an opportunity for program participants to check in with each other and see how each other are handling some of the unique pressures arising from stay-at-home orders. Attendance has ranged from eight to ten people each week. Center Global will continue to hold these hangouts for the duration of the stay-at-home orders. Additionally, Center Global volunteers began calling program participants individually to check in with them about how they are doing and whether they need help being pointed to available resources or navigating those resources.
To help alleviate some of the financial pressures brought about by the response to COVID-19, Center Global decided to distribute approximately $7,500 to participants in need of urgent relief. Requests for assistance included things such as rent, groceries, co-payments for medical appointments, and transportation via safer alternatives to public transportation. While Center Global was not able to help all who applied, those who did receive assistance have expressed how much of an impact for the better the assistance has made.
Center Global, a program of the DC Center for the LGBT Community, provides a welcoming community for LGBT asylum seekers in the Washington, DC area. Center Global assists asylum seekers through providing food and transportation assistance, legal assessments and referrals, limited case management services, and hosting monthly community dinners. For more information about Center Global, please contact Geoffrey Louden, Vice-Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.