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Help Is A Phone Call Away - The Center's Resource and Referral Phone Line
March 29, 2021

Dear Center Community, 

We all appreciate the power of human connection in a deeper way, having all experienced more isolation since COVID-19. At the start of the pandemic, The Center knew how important connection was for our LGBTQ community and that we would be disproportionately affected by this terrible virus. We also knew that, as we have done for 50 years, that we had to help! So, within 48 hours of the first Stay-At-Home order, our Emergency Referral & Resource Phone Line was born, as a critical piece of The Center’s shift to Emergency Services in 2020. In the past year, we have answered more than 2,800 phone calls - that is over 2,800 personal connections to help and resources from a human voice on the other end of the phone who cares, understands, and is dedicated to our community.

Some of the most notable requests are:
Shelter, Housing, and Rental Assistance: The trend of community members calling for housing and rental assistance has been unparalleled during this pandemic. We’ve given out more than $140,000 in rental relief to keep our community housed, connected Transitional Age Youth (TAY) with our Safe S.T.A.Y program providing them a place to sleep the very night they call, have engaged with landlords on behalf of community members who were having issues impacting their ability to pay rent, and so much more.
Sexual Health & Wellness and HIV Services: Throughout the pandemic, we have received calls for our outdoor, socially-distanced HIV Testing and have the ability to schedule appointments for the next day. Our community knows us and trusts The Center to answer the call and provide the free, confidential testing they need, as well as connection to caring staff who are part of the community.
Food Resources: Many community members are facing real food insecurity during the pandemic due to job loss and reduced income, and call The Center for information on our varied Food Programs and Resources, serving over 1,500 people a month.

Project TRANS: Center staff have fielded calls for those looking for Support Groups, referrals to transgender-competent and friendly healthcare providers, and connection to Behavioral Health Services. Some of the most heartwarming calls have come from parents reaching out on behalf of youth, not knowing the questions to ask and not knowing the answers, but wanting to support the transgender or nonbinary youth in their lives.
Legal Resources & Assistance: With the pandemic and the issues it continues to bring, we have linked callers to legal assistance for divorce, rental issues, immigration issues, help with community members being held in detention centers, and more.
The connection to help and resources for our community is the main focus of our Emergency Referral & Resource phone line, but it is so much more. It’s the real-life Center staffer who answers or returns the call as quickly as possible. It is staff “going through their mental Rolodex” to provide, not only the services community members ask for, but additional ones that community members might need and didn’t know existed. It’s the change in the community members’ voices from the beginning to the end of the phone call, the palpable relief felt when the team provides a safe and welcoming space and a caring ear. And it is the continuation of The Center’s service to our LGBTQ community, providing hope for a brighter future.
If you, or someone you know, are in need of The Center’s Emergency Referral & Resource Phone Line, you are not alone. Please call 619.800.4252 from 9am - 4pm or 619 800.4216 from 4pm - 9pm or email

In community,
-Cara Dessert (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers)
Chief Executive Officer
The Center wants to keep you up to date on the latest COVID-19 vaccine information. As of March 15, the COVID-19 vaccination was made available to those with certain health conditions, disabilities, illness, living spaces, or work environments that put them at higher risk for serious COVID-19 illness, including those living with HIV. Also eligible are congregate residential settings, such as incarceratio­n/detention facilities, homeless shelters, or behavioral health facilities.

Beginning April 1, Californians 50+ years old will be able to sign up for the vaccine and beginning, April 15, eligibility will be expanded to everyone 16 and older. 

To get up to date on COVID-19 vaccine phases, information on who is eligible, details on vaccination sites, or to make your appointment, visit the San Diego County website.
We hope you enjoyed our 2021 presentation of Tantrums & Tiaras REWIND! The Center wants to extend a special thank you to Absolut Vodka for their continued support of Tantrums & Tiaras as a long-standing presenting partner! To watch 'Tantrums' again, or for the first time, and to donate, please visit:

The Center’s Corporate and Community partners are instrumental in our philanthropic operations. From our Corporate Partners who support The Center’s events through sponsorships, to the support of local LGBTQ employee resource groups who support annually and provide opportunities for The Center's Training Institute so their teams can become more aware, to our local small businesses who support year-round including important events like Dining Out For Life® San Diego (April 29-May 2); and community partners who continue to support the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast (May 21) even in difficult times like now. These partners join forces to meet a common goal based on our shared values and we are so thankful for their support. If your business or organization is interested in becoming a Center partner, please contact me at or 619.227.2324

With Pride,

Ian Johnson (Pronouns: He/Him/His)
Director of Development
The Center continues advocating for an equitable San Diego that works for all and have identified the following as our top three Advocacy and Policy priorities: Racial Justice, Housing, and an Equitable Budget. We have proudly served as a founding member of the Coalition for Police Accountability and Transparency (CPAT) and want to uplift an upcoming CPAT event that supports our Racial Justice priority – “PrOTECT Our Communities: Townhall on Biased Policing” on Tuesday, March 30th from 6:00pm-7:30pm. Spanish translation will be provided / Interpretación en español sera disponible
Join us in learning about and taking action against biased policing. Hear from community members about their experience being profiled by police. Find out what data reveals about police bias and learn about PrOTECT, a law that would ban pretext stops and consent searches. The townhall will take place via Zoom, register here.
To keep you updated about PrOTECT and other CPAT outcomes, and to learn and engage more in The Center’s full Advocacy work, sign up here

Rebekah Hook-Held (Pronouns: She/Her/Hers)
Chief Public Affairs & Civic Engagement Officer
There is still time to attend the Community Budget Alliance (CBA) workshops! The Center is advocating for a more equitable San Diego City budget with our partners at CBA. Join the upcoming online forums to help imagine a new vision for the City of San Diego so we can advocate together for a true People's Budget. Click here to sign up and stay up to date on The Center's Advocacy efforts. 

Tuesday, March 30, 5:30pm-7pm
People’s Economy: People not corporations are the economy. Panelists will talk about how we can protect workers rights and explore how any economic recovery efforts must put people first.
Tuesday, April 6, 5:30pm-7pm

Redefining Public Safety Panel #2: Invest in Communities: Panelists will discuss how investing in communities and community care is what makes us safe.
Join our partners at San Diego Pride as we virtually celebrate Transgender Day of Empowerment this Friday, April 2nd from 6pm-7pm! On this special evening, enjoy speeches, live performances, community awards, the awarding of the Tracie Jada O'Brien Student Scholarships, and more! This event will be interpreted in American Sign Language. Click to RSVP here and join the live stream directly here For more information contact Sarafina Scapicchio, she/her, San Diego Pride's Director of Philanthropy at 619.906.0024 or
Join us for discussion and support groups, special programs, and more via Zoom - all tailored for our LGBTQ community. Please visit our website, visit The Center's Facebook page, or call us at 619.800.4252 from 9am - 4pm or 619.800.4216 from 4pm - 9pm to find the right one for you. Below find just some of The Center's offerings. 
Last week, The Center hosted a special event called LGBTQ Women in Civic Leadership with a power panel of LGBTQ women leaders from and around San Diego. We are so grateful to these community leaders for bringing their heart, passion, and expertise to this panel. To watch again, or for the first time, click below!
Watch Now!
Did you know that certain medical needs may qualify you or someone in your home for savings every month on your gas and electric bill? Apply for SDG&E’s Medical Baseline Allowance program if you need to use more energy due to a qualifying medical condition or to prevent an existing condition from getting worse. Examples include:
  • A requirement for permanent space heating or cooling due to paraplegia, quadriplegia, hemiplegia, multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, a compromised immune system or a life-threatening illness.
  • Required use of a life-support device, such as an aerosol tent, apnea monitor, kidney dialysis machine, motorized wheelchair or respirator (devices used for therapy don’t qualify; only medical devices that sustain life or are needed for mobility qualify).
To get a Medical Baseline Allowance application and more information, visit or call 1-800-411-7343. Eligibility requirements include having a physician sign your application to certify the medical need.
The Center is excited to partner with local State Farm agent Dorian Brewer and the Quotes for Good program! For every person we direct their way who is new to State Farm and completes a car insurance, home insurance, life insurance or business insurance quote, State Farm will make a $10 donation to The Center! When you call, email, text or stop in the office, be sure to mention Quotes for Good and The Center's name to make sure we receive the donation. Thank you to State Farm and this great opportunity to support the work we do for the LGBTQ community and create awareness about our cause.
The Center offers employees an amazing environment where community building, compassion, and care are uniquely combined with an insistent striving toward excellence and best practices. The Center is one of San Diego’s most exciting places to work, with staff renowned for dynamic and creative teamwork, professionalism, and unparalleled heart and dedication. Check out our job listings. 
We make it easy to share The Center's weekly E-News - just click this link and forward to a friend! If your friends would like to sign up to stay informed, they can sign up here:
If you are in crisis or considering suicide, you are not alone.
There are resources and help available for you:
  • Trans Lifeline: 1.877.565.8860 - For trans or nonbinary folx in the US
  • Trevor Project Lifeline: 1.866.488.7386 - For LGBT youth (18-24)
  • National Suicide Hotline: 1.800.273.8255 - For all ages & identities
  • San Diego Access and Crisis Line: 1.888.724.7240 - Free suicide prevention/intervention hotline in San Diego County
Copyright © 2021 San Diego LGBT Community Center, All rights reserved.

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