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Advancing equality for the LGBTQ+ community

The DFPI is not just California’s financial regulator; we’re also here to support economic mobility for all residents. During Pride Month, we celebrate the extraordinary courage and contributions of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) communities. Joining us in celebration, are our community partners, who provide financial education and empowerment programs locally across California.

We sat down with the directors of three of these organizations to hear about the great work they’re doing.

L: Travis Spain, Director of Financial Services; R: Antonio Chacon, Financial Coach, both of the SF LGBT Center.

L: Travis Spain, Director of Financial Services;

R: Antonio Chacon, Financial Coach, both of the SF LGBT Center.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to witness clients begin working on small short-term goals, such as creating a budget, and then, with the assistance of the Center, achieve their larger long-term goals, such as purchasing a home affordably.”

Travis Spain, Director of Financial Services

San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center – San Francisco

The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center (SF LGBT Center) is the only organization serving the full spectrum of San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ communities. Its mission is to connect its diverse community to opportunities, resources, and each other to achieve a stronger, healthier, and more equitable world for LGBTQ+ people and their allies. The SF LGBT Center fosters opportunities for people to thrive through its cultural and community programs and financial, employment, youth, and room rental services.

“I have always been passionate about finance, but my favorite part of working in the banking industry was the opportunity to meet people, use my skills to investigate potential solutions, and work with them to achieve their goals.” says Spain. “I initially became a client at the Center for their First Time Homebuyer’s Education program, but after completing the series, I became intrigued by the organization, explored their job openings, and eventually transitioned into a role where I could focus on my favorite aspects of my previous jobs full-time.”

The SF LGBT Center emphasizes a human+business model approach. The business model focuses on tasks and objectives (such as the amount of money saved, credit score points increased, and the number of new employees hired) and the human model is how to enrich people’s lives. “We meet the equally important needs of our clients through learning, understanding, collaborating, and advising,” Spain explains, “By using this approach, we foster a welcoming environment where people feel comfortable discussing their personal financial goals and taking steps to reach them.”

Regarding financial education, Spain advises not to get caught up in comparisons. “There is no shame in starting out at a different place than someone else. The most important part is beginning your own journey.”

Visit SF LGBT Center’s website to learn more.

Darryl Evey, CEO of Family Assistance Program.

“Many young people do not know how to manage their money. Most schools no longer teach finances and many of the people we serve come from families that have not ever learned how to manage money. This leads to systemic, generational poverty.”

Darryl Evey, CEO

Family Assistance Program – San Bernardino County

Family Assistance Program has its roots in providing shelter and services to survivors of domestic violence. It also offers programs to serve victims of human trafficking, at-risk, runaway and homeless youth, justice-involved individuals seeking re-entry support, and LGBTQ+ transitional-aged youth. Each program offers housing support, case management, and services to help clients set and reach individual goals.

“There is a clear need for housing for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness due to family conflict based on their gender identity or sexual orientation,” says Evey. “We saw an opportunity to provide LGBTQ+-specific services to meet the unique needs of our youth and opened Welcome Home, a transitional youth housing program for LGBTQ+ youth.”

“Many of the people we work with come from poor families,” explains Evey. “We’re looking at trying to break generational poverty. Our clients work on overcoming the trauma that brought them to our programs while educating themselves financially at the same time.”

“Financial literacy and empowerment are key in helping our clients transition from shelter to independent living,” advises Evey. “Clients are taught budgeting and work to build their savings and credit. Doing so creates a foundation for self-sufficiency and decreases their vulnerability toward potential exploitation and victimization.”

Evey offers the following advice for those starting their financial journey:

  • Don’t be lured in by instant gratification. No money down does not mean it is free, only that it will cost more later. ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ means you’re actually paying a whole lot more later.
  • Start small and learn the basics. Understand how to budget, where to get assistance, and how to open bank accounts and manage them. Credit is a powerful tool, but it can create great damage if used incorrectly.

Visit Family Assistance Program’s website to learn more.

“It’s important for everyone at any age and of any financial capability to have some knowledge of financial literacy. It’s especially essential for seniors to help guide them in protecting assets and life savings, while avoiding scams and fraudulent contractors.”

Tandy Bowman & Cathy Perry, Co-Directors

Servant Hearts – Greater Sacramento Area

Servant Hearts’ mission is to make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ older adults and their allies. It provides community outreach support services, self-sufficiency resources, and LGBTQ+ cultural training and workshops in the Greater Sacramento Area. Current projects include the Wisdom Project, Rhythms of Empowerment, and Respect Awareness Project. They are also known for their annual Senior PRIDE fair, an event where seniors can meet vendors that provide services specific to LGBTQ+ communities.

Two lady hold each other and they smile
L: Cathy Perry, Programs Director & Board Chair;
R: Tandy Bowman, Founder & Executive Director, both of Servant Hearts.

Tandy Bowman and Cathy Perry are partners in life and in running Servant Hearts. In addition to Servant Hearts’ core programs, they educate residential living care staff and administrators in caring for aging LGBTQ+ people. “Service to others formed a lasting core value in my life,” says Tandy. “I found inspiration through my immigrant family and an early interest in helping special populations through volunteerism,” says Cathy.

Wisdom Project, a core program for Servant Hearts, focuses on empowering and educating Seniors by offering resources and information that can help them remain independent while living dignified lives. “Even though the average age of a senior in the Wisdom Project is 70 years old, many are just beginning their financial literacy journey,” affirm Tandy & Cathy. “In the LGBTQ+ community, most older people were not ‘out’ during their earning years, often settling for low earning jobs and generally under-employed. They may also have been fired or demoted if ‘outed’ or caught engaging in ‘gay culture’.” Servant Hearts provides support services and resources to help LGBTQ+ seniors overcome past traumas and discriminatory practices and live authentically and openly.

Visit Servant Hearts website to learn more.

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Last updated: Jun 27, 2024 @ 5:52 pm