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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Advocates to launch LGBT community needs assessment
by Matt Simonette
2018-10-10

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The LGBT Community Fund of the Chicago Community Trust will this month launch a new needs-assessment measuring the needs and concerns of the city's LGBT residents.

This will be the first such local study undertaken since 2011, when the last assessment took place, noted Mary Morten, president of the Morten Group consultancy, which is undertaking the study.

"The world is a different place than it was in 2011 and 2012," Morten said. "So now [the LGBT Community Fund] wants to check in and see how things are and how needs have changed."

Among the shifts Morten said to expect are an increased focus in questions on issues surrounding accessibility and gender. She added, "Perceptions around gender have changed so much in the last several years. The spectrum around how people identify themselves has changed tremendously, so we'll be increasing our focus around this part of the community as well as putting together a small, four- or five-person advisory team. Some of those individuals are subject matter-experts, and we'll be asking them for their idea's in how to best connect with these communities that have been chronically underrepresented."

Employment will also be another primary focus, she added. Participants in the 2011 study cited that as a primary concern as well.

Many local LGBT organizations will take part in distributing the survey, among them Howard Brown Health, where the Oct. 17 launch is taking place. The Trust will also utilize a "community drop box" at local events and gathering spots for persons who might not utilize or be affiliated with the organizations.

"In our last data-collection effort, we had some of our community-engagement team at bars on Friday nights," added Morten. "They were at black-tie events. We really tried to be in all-different kinds of places at all-different times."

Data collection will last from mid-October through mid-January, with a full report likely in March. Denise Foy and Adnaan Hamid are co-chairs of the LGBT Community Fund.

Morten emphasized the uniqueness of the 2012 report, which she said has been accessed thousands of times.

"There are lookalike projects happening, based on what we did in Chicago," she said. "It's unusual that we get to go around seven years later and do another round of data collection. It will really benefit the community, not just here in Chicago, but all across the country."

Related: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/2018-Chicago-LGBTQ-Community-Needs-Assessment-launches/64390.html .


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