Your Way Home LGBTQ Community Engagement Project Report

LGBTQ report

As part of Healthspark Foundation's Innovation Lab, Your Way Home Montgomery County launched a qualitative research project to better understand and bring awareness to the unique needs of LGBTQ individuals experiencing poverty in Montgomery County and accessing Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

"The project was extremely interesting, not only to give voice to people who don't usually have that opportunity, but it was a way to discuss generational queerness. It was humbling to be the person to hold these conversations with individuals and to learn so much about the dynamic issues that are confronted in a diverse manner for the community," says Madlyn Strouse, one of the LGBTQ engagement workers and a lead on the project.

The research report provides several findings and recommendations for social safety net providers to improve inclusiveness for LGBTQ community members. These recommendations include:

  • The LGBTQ resource guide currently provided on the Health and Human Services website needs to be updated and be more easily accessible.

  • It is recommended that there be an identifiable contact person who would be familiar with what is available in Montgomery County for the LGBTQ community, perhaps through Community Connections.

  • With the understanding of limited funding and physical space to create a brickand-mortar LGBTQ community center, it is recommended that a community center without walls is created.

  • Strategic and inclusive policy changes and training for Health and Human Services is needed.

  • Health and Human Service intake, assessment, and case management forms and processes need to be revised to include a variety of indicators when it comes to gender and sexual orientation.

  • Create LGBTQ-inclusive accountability by making changes to the Request for Proposals (RFPs) process within Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

  • On a national scale, it is recommended that a research scan be completed on what other counties are doing and what they have done to create change in service to the LGBTQ community.

  • As the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services advances its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), our recommendation is that the explicit recognition of the unique needs of the LGBTQ population is made as part of this initiative.

The report is available for download below.