Support fund brings 2SLGBTQIAP+ community together across Saskatchewan

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By: Michelle Palansky, Communications advisor, Canadian Red Cross

A recent national survey of LGBTQI2S communities found a higher rate of reduced employment and higher rates of an anticipated negative impact on mental health as a result of COVID-19 when compared to the general public.
With these stark findings in mind, UR Pride Centre for Sexuality & Gender Diversity, a centre that serves the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community in Regina, Saskatchewan, formed a collaboration with OUTSaskatoon and Moose Jaw Pride to better serve their most vulnerable members across the province.
Colourful banner of 2SLGBTQIAPThe coalition is hiring four peer navigators to connect community members with resources needed during the pandemic thanks to a grant from the Red Cross, through funding from the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund.
Jacq Brasseur, UR Pride’s executive director, said some in the 2SLGBTQIAP+ community who are experiencing increased needs during this time may not feel safe accessing existing community resources and services.
“In Regina and Saskatoon we will have two navigators so people can access that help in person,” said Brasseur. “For rural communities, we are hiring one peer navigator for northern Saskatchewan and one peer navigator for southern Saskatchewan who can meet people face to face who don’t have stable access to the internet and also provide support over the phone.”
The March online poll conducted by Innovative Research Group in partnership with Egale Canada, highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQI2S communities. The research found:
  • More than half (52 percent) of Canada's LGBTQI2S households have faced layoffs or reduced employment as a result of the pandemic, compared to 39 percent of overall Canadian households.
  • Nearly 60 percent of LGBTQI2S respondents reported that they expected their mental health to be negatively impacted in the next two months compared to 42 percent of the general public.
Many badges laying on a table.Brasseur has seen the need for support firsthand. Clients who do not feel comfortable or confident navigating available resources are forced to choose between groceries or rent. The peer navigators they are hiring will help to bridge this gap.
“One of the beautiful things I am finding about COVID-19 is that there is this call to action. People don’t have to ask; they are just excited to collaborate and see how we can work together to help support our community. This project is a great example of that,” said Brasseur.
This program was supported thanks to the generous support of the Government of Canada's Emergency Community Support Fund.

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