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May 31, 2023

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The San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center) has looked out for the health and well-being of San Diego’s LGBTQ+ community since 1971. What started out as a phone line for community members to find connection has grown into one of the largest LGBTQ+ community centers in the nation. We spoke with their senior director of communications and marketing, Gus Hernandez, about how The Center works to ensure that every LGBTQ+ individual feels welcomed, valued and supported.  

Can you talk about some of the challenges our community faces and how you’re working to overcome them?  

The San Diego LGBT Community Center knows the unique challenges that our LGBTQ+ community faces. Members of our community reach out to us to get connected to resources from housing insecurity and food insecurity to job insecurity. The Center is helping our LGBTQ+ community in many ways. We have dedicated programs for youth and seniors, a housing continuum that includes prevention and diversion services, and both permanent supportive housing and overnight emergency housing for transitional age youth 18–24 years old. 

Why is workforce development important to your organization’s mission?  

The mission of The Center is to enhance and sustain the health and well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, nonbinary, immigrant and HIV communities to the betterment of our entire San Diego region. Workforce development is a critical component of the work that we do, and we are proud to host our Professional Development Fair this year in support of our mission. 

Any partnership highlights you’d like to share?  

The Center has been selected to create and run San Diego’s first LGBTQ-affirming shelter for transitional age youth, ages 18–24. The 45-bed shelter will open next year, and The Center will run two interim locations that will have up to 21 beds. The Center is partnering with San Diego Youth Services and the YMCA of San Diego to provide case management, transportation assistance, employment support, outreach to youth on the streets and basic needs such as food, showers, mail service, laundry and clothing. 

How can San Diegans get involved?  

The Center has been issued a $100,000 challenge grant by the San Diego Foundation to raise funds for the Hillcrest Youth Center. The San Diego Foundation will match every donation dollar for dollar up to $100,000 to support The Center’s outreach and programs for LGBTQ+ youth. You can visit if you’d like to make a gift to support The Center. 

We are also always looking for volunteers. Learn how to become a Center volunteer by visiting our website: 

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