Aryah Lester gives a presentation about transgender sensitivity to HOPWA program administrators
SAVE Dade was pleased this week to partner with Miami’s Department of Community and Economic Development as it undertakes the first ever accounting of the city’s transgender population as part of the federally-funded Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.
HOPWA is a rental assistance program for low- to moderate-income individuals with AIDS and their families. Through HOPWA, the Department of Community and Economic Development assists over 1,000 individuals with AIDS.
Recently, the federal government issued a mandate requiring agencies administering HOPWA programs to collect data on transgender populations. Previously, administrators were required to collect other types of information, but this is the first time that they must collect information on the trans population.
In order to make the data collection possible, the Department of Community and Economic Development collaborated with SAVE Dade to train the city employees responsible for surveying the community on how to most effectively engage transgendered individuals.
SAVE Dade reached out to Aryah Lester to conduct a training of city employees on how to approach collection of data on the trans community. Aryah directs Trans-Miami, a local drop-in resource center on South Beach for the transgender community. She has been an invaluable partner for SAVE Dade’s campaigns, including the TransEquality campaign to pass an all-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance at the countywide level.
“I enjoyed training the surveyors who will be gathering this vital information,” said Aryah. “There is a dearth of data regarding transgender populations nationwide. HOPWA’s adoption of transgender data collection policies will provide concrete numbers for gender non-conforming residents and will help ensure access to services such as housing assistance for those who qualify.”