by Brian Ragas, Communications Manager
[San Francisco, CA May 5th 2021] Trans:Thrive, San Francisco Community Health Center’s comprehensive social support and wrap-around medical services for transgender and gender-non conforming (GNC) folks, began in-person drop-in services after a one year hiatus due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders.
Currently, in partnership with and housed at City of Hope Community Center (one block from SFCHC), a living/gathering space in the Tenderloin, beginning May 4th and every Tuesday from 2:00pm-5:00pm trans and GNC identified folks can access the space and services. Here, clients may receive a hot meal, computer access, shower and pampering stations as well as meet with their social workers and healthcare providers. It’s also a means to build community with other trans and GNC folks.
Having a drop-in space has always been integral to Trans:Thrive. Since 2005 when the program formed from previous trans services it has been an integral part of San Francisco Community Health Center and the trans community particularly in the Tenderloin. Pre COVID-19, Trans:Thrive saw 20-40 clients per day in the drop-in space. But since the pandemic the program had to dramatically shift their programming.
“The pandemic really made us re-evaluate our program service delivery,” said Niko Kowell (He/Him) Associate Director of Health Equity who manages Trans:Thrive. “It was heart crushing that we couldn’t have as much interaction with our clients for over a year. In March 2020, we had to move a majority of our programming online and conduct our groups virtually. But we did have limited in-person services like a food grab-and-go and of course for medical emergencies. It’s crucial to have a safe space like this where trans and GNC folks can have a refuge and feel acceptance from the many layers of discrimination they face on the streets.”
One of the biggest issues trans and GNC folks in San Francisco face is the housing crisis. Many members of the community face homelessness and are marginally housed forcing many into sex work and/or substance use increasing their risk of HIV and other communicable diseases. Trans:Thrive and San Francisco Community Health Center’s mission is to work and provide assistance around these issues and having an established, reoccurring drop-in space makes it possible.
San Francisco Community Health Center is an LGBTQ and people of color community health center that believes everyone deserves to be healthy and offers the highest quality medical, dental, and behavioral health care. We foster resilience, belonging, and healing for all communities. To us, health care will always be grounded in social justice.
For more information regarding available sponsorships or to learn how San Francisco Community Health Center is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://sfcommunityhealth.org or call (415) 292-3400.