Because the San Francisco Bay Area has a worldwide reputation as a welcoming place, it might be assumed that LGBTQ people here are, put simply, doing fine. And it is true that many in our community are thriving. At the same time, many in the Bay Area’s broad and diverse LGBTQ community face significant obstacles to participating fully and equally in society and to accessing programs and services to meet fundamental needs. Indications of those needs permeate the scores of applications for grant support that come to Horizons Foundation each year.
Why this Assessment? Why Now?
There has been no systematic effort to assess a wide range of needs among LGBTQ people in the Bay Area in 24 years when Horizons Foundation first conducted such a study. The world has changed considerably since 1995. Because of the importance of knowing the community’s needs – especially as described by diverse LGBTQ people themselves – Horizons commissioned a needs assessment.
By surveying more than 1,400 community members across the Bay Area’s nine counties, researchers investigated critical areas of need like safety, economic and housing security; medical and mental health care; drug and alcohol recovery; legal assistance; community connection and social life; and civic engagement. The study assessed how people access services and resources in the Bay Area, looking for gaps between needs and available services and for the barriers keeping community members from accessing these services. Additionally, the study probed deeply into difference in experience across factors like sexual orientation, gender identity, race and ethnicity, age, income, ability, and geography.