As part of our new, housing-focused Brave Pathways Coalition, Project Bravery hosted their first community conversation event on February 25th!
This was a space for LGBTQ+ community members to share their thoughts, concerns and ideas about all things related to housing. The purpose of this meeting, and of Brave Pathways Coalition, is to help inform housing policies at the local and state levels, generate new, innovative ideas, and ensure that LGBTQ+ voices are centered when it comes to addressing the specific needs of our community in housing.
We took some time to catch up with Beck Fox (they/them), Director of Project Bravery, about how the meeting went and what this means moving forward...
What was this event about and who was it meant for?
Project Bravery hosted a virtual community conversation meeting for our LGBTQ+ community. The intention of this meeting was to provide an open forum for our LGBTQ+ community members to share their stories, thoughts, concerns, and ideas around housing.
Why did you put this event together?
While several of our community partners have extensive expertise and years of service providing housing resources to residents of Lincoln County, Bravery identified a gap in soliciting stories, perspectives, and ideas directly from the LGBTQ+ community. Housing is a crisis across Oregon, but for members of marginalized communities, inequities are all the more present; LGBTQ+ people are more likely to face housing discrimination, be unemployed or earn lower wages, struggle to find safe and affirming crisis resources/shelter spaces, and experiences houselessness. It is with this in mind that Bravery decided to form a regional housing coalition led by and for LGBTQ+ people. This coalition, called Brave Pathways, will synthesize qualitative data from community conversation meetings, as well as quantitative data gathered by survey, into recommendations for regional and state level healthcare and housing partners in order to, hopefully, positively impact the health and wellbeing of our LGBTQ+ community members.
How did the event play out? Who was involved?
The event went really well! We had several community members and community partners in attendance (via Zoom). People shared their experiences with housing, some of which were difficult to hear, but also shared innovative solutions. There was a lot of energy around continued involvement, and a readiness to connect with community members who may not attend these types of events themselves, but who still have valuable perspectives to share - or who are in need of resources.
Some of the concerns shared included housing issues faced by elder LGBTQ+ community members, discrimination by rental agencies/landlords, lack of safe/affordable housing in our region, lack of housing-focused resources for LGBTQ+ people and families leaving parts of the country with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, discrimination within shelters (particularly towards members of the trans community), and the need to address intersecting factors (e.g., behavioral health, folx with disabilities, food security, etc.).
Do you plan on hosting another event similar to this one?
Yes! Bravery will be hosting several more community conversation meetings in the coming months. These meetings will help guide and inform the work of the Brave Pathways Coalition as it moves forward.
Any closing remarks?
Housing is a huge issue, and a huge thing for a new program like Bravery to tackle. That being said, we're determined, and there is a lot of interest within the LGBTQ+ community, regionally, to address this issue. It's important that LGBTQ+ voices have a space at the table when it comes to creating innovative housing solutions for our community, and we hope that Brave Pathways is a step in the right direction in making that happen.
You can keep up with Project Bravery's future events and other updates by following their Facebook page: @projectbravery.oc .