Seeking a support group for gay fathers near Jefferson Park? In need of trans-friendly shelter housing for a homeless client in Pilsen, or legal advocacy for a lesbian friend who has suffered from violence?
The new Chicagoland LGBTQ Services Directory at www.chicagolgbtservices.org launches today as the first comprehensive, searchable website of such resources for LGBTQ people in Chicago and its near suburbs. The directory was created and is maintained by the LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. The Center serves to educate and train culturally competent practitioners in social justice and service delivery for gender and sexual minorities.
The ever-growing directory launches with more than 250 services specific to LGBTQ people, from basic needs such as employment and shelter to social resources, mental health treatment and legal support provided by more than 130 agencies.
For each service listed, the directory provides a provider name and address, service description, telephone number, email, handicapped accessibility, service hours and direct link to provider’s website, where available. Service providers can use the site to directly request that their resources be considered for directory inclusion.
“The concept for this searchable online website came from the constant struggle of finding up-to-date resources for LGBTQ clients in my clinical care,” said Kevin Osten-Garner, Psy.D., Director of Adler's LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center and a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in work with LGBTQ issues, several mental illness and chemical/behavioral addictions.
Over the last year, Osten-Garner led colleagues and students at the Adler University investing hundreds of hours researching and reaching out to Chicago-area agencies to document, verify and enter resources dedicated to LGBTQ people for the online directory.
Range of Services Featured
The Chicagoland LGBTQ Services Directory lists LGBTQ-competent services in the areas of:
- Basic needs: career and employment, case management, education, food, homeless services, housing
- Communities: differently-abled, faith-based, military, parenting and family, professional groups
- Health: prevention and wellness, primary care
- Legal: assault and health crimes, discrimination, estate planning, HIV, immigration, interpersonal violence, juvenile justice, transgender and queer
- Mental health: helplines and e-support, intensive treatment, support groups, therapy groups
- Social: arts, differently abled, general interest, sports and recreation, volunteering
- Substance abuse: helplines and e-support, intensive treatment, support groups, therapy groups
Users can search the directory by entering a short service description, along with an optional zip code or address. The search returns a page with a list of resources meeting the user’s search description, listed in order of proximity and accompanied by a Google map for easier navigation. Users can also browse resources by service category.
Organizations that provide LGBTQ-specific services can use the site to add or update their offerings. All submissions are reviewed and verified before they are added or changed. Resources eligible for listing are those dedicated to LGBTQ people. Services that are not LGBTQ-specific, or services provided by individual or group practice providers, are not included at this time.
The directory is intended as more than a much-needed resource for LGBTQ people and those who serve them, said Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D.
“It’s also to highlight the need for more services to underserved populations within the LGBTQ community,” Crossman said. “This work through our LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center really arises from the Adler University’s mission to address social inequities and exclusion.”
Community Support Voiced
Chicago LGBT community and advocacy leaders are voicing strong support for the directory’s launch. Years ago, the “painfully obvious” need for centralized information on services for sexual minorities spawned a physical list that Chicago-area practitioners updated and shared via email, said Braden Berkey, Psy.D., a Chicago clinical psychologist long recognized for his research, clinical practice and community work addressing sexual minority needs.
“Through the LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center at the Adler School, Dr. Osten-Garner has dramatically expanded this original idea,” Berkey said. “The new directory includes a dizzying array of services that are easily accessible in a beautiful format, and incorporates technology that allows agencies and organizations to update their own listings.”
Berkey and Kim Hunt, Executive Director of Affinity Community Services, a social justice organization working with and for black LGBTQ communities, queer youth, and allies, each called the directory an indispensable resource for the LGBTQ community and those who serve its members. “The wide range of services presented provides a wealth of valuable information, and the ‘How to Use’ section allows users to navigate with ease,” Hunt said.
Osten-Garner, who also serves as Adler’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Training and Community Engagement, said he and others recognize that the need for LGBTQ-competent services and support extends to people in communities well beyond Chicago.
“The Adler School has graciously funded the start-up of this directory; with ongoing financial support from additional benefactors, we hope to expand it to individual providers and services beyond the Chicagoland area,” Osten-Garner said.
About the LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center
The LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center at the Adler School of Professional Psychology serves as a leader in educating and training culturally-competent clinicians in social justice and service delivery for sexual-orientation and gender-variant minorities. Through education, community engagement and research, the Center works to advance the wellness and quality of life for sexual orientation and gender variant minorities on individual and systemic levels. Learn more at adler.edu/LGBTQ.
About the Adler School of Professional Psychology
The Adler School of Professional Psychology has provided quality education through a scholar/practitioner model for 60 years. Its mission is to continue the pioneering work of Alfred Adler by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice. The Adler School enrolls more than 1,200 students in doctoral and master’s degree programs and offerings at its campuses in Chicago, Illinois, and Vancouver, British Columbia, and through Adler Online.
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