Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Branching Out: A Chicago Nonprofit Offers the Nation's Most Comprehensive Services for Trans People

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Branching Out: A Chicago Nonprofit Offers the Nation's Most Comprehensive Services for Trans People

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

CHICAGO HOUSE and Social Service Agency which has served people with HIV/AIDS since the epidemic's early days, has a history of adjusting its programs to meet needs. And now it's expanding its mission to serve another often marginalized group: transgender people.

The agency, which provides supportive housing, case management, and job training for HIV-positive people, has just launched the TransLife Project to offer housing, employment assistance, and health care connections to transgender Chicagoans, regardless of HIV status.

The leaders of Chicago House decided to develop the project after several transgender women went through its job training and internship programs, established in 2008 in recognition of the fact that HIV-ers were living longer, healthier lives and desiring to reenter the work force.

"We saw how big the gaps in service were for transgender people," says CEO Stan Sloan. "One in five transgender people has experienced homelessness, which is a staggering number." They are four times as likely as other Americans to live in extreme poverty (on less than $2,000 a year), and an estimated 41% have attempted suicide, he adds.

Chicago House will address those numbers by providing subsidized housing in a nine-bedroom home (being rehabbed and readied for a 2013 opening) and scattered-site apartments, employment training, and connections to appropriate health care. …

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