State Rep. Lamont Robinson announced Aug. 24 that he had helped secure $15 million in funding for an LGBT center to be located on the South Side.
Robinson's remarks came during a panel discussion that was part of the Fahrenheit Chicago weekend-long celebration.
"As a member of the LGBT communityparticularly the Black LGBT communityI've talked to folks in that community, and it became apparent that we need our own center," Robinson later told Windy City Times. "I certainly agree with that, and I worked with leadership to get funds out of the capital bill for this project."
Howard Brown Health will be the fiscal agent for the project. That health system has a number of South Side locations, and will offer health services at the new center. Among the locations being considered are Washington Park, South Shore and Woodlawn, Robinson added. He predicted that the project would take about three to five years until opening.
"I've brought LGBTQ organizations together to talk about their assessments of their wants and needs are for the center," he said. "The next move is to talk to LGBTQ youth, to see what their concerns are, but also to [consider] where the best site for this is [with consideration towards] a needs assessment."
Robinson said that the center would ideally include the health center as well as a gymnasium, space for South Side-based Black LGBTQ organizations, housing services and retail space. He added, "It's also important to have space where people can go to find jobs, or get GED training. We want to make it not only a center for the LGBTQ community but the [entire] community on the South Side."
Besides Howard Brown Health, Center on Halsted is also assisting in the preparation. "Other folks at the table include Black LGBTQ organizations," Robinson said. "We want to make sure that the Center is someplace that encompasses everyone and is a place that folks can call home."