As part of its work to ensure equality for all who live, work, play and learn in Arlington, the County, in partnership with the Human Rights Commission’s Equality Task Force, has launched a webpage with local, state, and national resources for the LGBTQ community.
The new webpage compiles LGBTQ resources on a variety of topics, including homelessness and housing, domestic violence and sexual assault, and health. There are also topics specifically for teens and youth—such as scholarship opportunities and school clubs—as well as ones targeted at seniors and older adults, such as SAGE.
The links take community members to a variety of government agencies, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations, as well as churches and synagogues, media resources, and local businesses. The page also includes information on available help lines and provides resources for families.
“Arlington is very transient community; we get new community members all the time. It’s valuable to have something that’s an easy resource and starting point for people to find the information and services they need,” said Assistant County Manager Raul Torres, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission.
The County will continue to update the webpage as needed, and welcomes community input, including additions, corrections, and feedback about the list.
Public awareness of available LGBTQ resources is one way the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI) examines how inclusive a municipality’s laws, policies and services are for LGBTQ people. Last year, Arlington County received a score of 93—placing it at the top of municipalities in Virginia and in the top 20 percent of scores nationwide. Even with the high score, the Human Rights Commission was interested in determining if there are either gaps in service or gaps in public awareness where extra focus would help the County better serve members of the LGBTQ community
Earlier this year, the commission established the Equality Task Force. The group will submit recommendations and develop an action plan to ensure the alignment of County services with the MEI scorecard, with the goal of receiving a perfect score for 2018.
“We’ve been doing a lot of investigation and found that Arlington has a huge amount of resources, but people don’t always know where to go to get the information,” said Kiley Tibbetts, a member of the Human Rights Commission and chair of the Equality Task Force. “This work will help bring a lot of credibility to our County and the way we run our government, helping make it an even greater place to live.”
About Human Rights in Arlington
The Office of Human Rights is responsible for ensuring that the Arlington community and its government organizations are free of discrimination and are accessible to persons with disabilities and limited English proficiency. The Human Rights Commission receives, investigates and reconciles complaints from people who believe they have been victims of unlawful discrimination.