LGBT centres in the US suffer from lack of funding and staff

LGBT community centres in the US don’t have enough physical space or paid staff, despite serving more than 40,000 people per week, according to a new report.

The report, which surveyed 128 centres across the US, found that one in 10 LGBT+ centres lacked a dedicated physical space, and all but one has a budget of less than $150,000.

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The centres employ just 2,000 staff across 40 states, and rely on the work of more than 14,000 volunteers, who contribute nearly half a million volunteer hours each year.

A quarter of the centres surveyed had no paid staff at all, and half are thinly staffed.

The centres offer a wide range of services to LGBT+ people in local communities, including educational programmes on topics like HIV prevention and supporting transgender children.

Some also provide mental and physical health supports for LGBT+ people.

The report draws attention to “a wide gulf” between large and small centres, with larger centres having better access to funding and staff than smaller centres.

Smaller centres are more likely to be cash strapped and are unlikely to have dedicated fundraising staff, which contributes to their lack of funding.

These small, underfunded centres are more likely to exist in communities with few other LGBT+ organisations or supports.

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The report found that centres need to build their capacity to fundraise and to appeal for more government supports, with the ultimate goal of investing in more full-time staff and board development.

It also suggests that centres need to continue to improve their public education programmes and to focus more on advocacy work.

Speaking to NBC News, Naomi Goldberg, a lead author on the report, spoke about the conditions centres like these operate under.

“People often think of LGBT centres as huge organisations, like centres in LA or other big cities.

“But there’s centers in rural areas like South Dakota that are also on the front lines, without many resources.”