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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

South Side LGBTQ Center In The Works; Officials Looking At Sites In Washington Park, Bronzeville And South Shore

An online portal for neighbors to give feedback on the center's priorities and location will debut in early 2020, as organizers shoot to open the center in February 2024.

Howard Brown Health opened an LGBTQ-focused Englewood clinic in 2016.
Andrea Watson/ Block Club Chicago
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SOUTH SHORE — A community center for LGBTQ South Siders is in the works, after care provider Howard Brown Health was allotted $15 million to build one under the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure bill.

The LGBTQ-focused provider was awarded the funding to build a healthcare and social services facility on the South Side. The project is in its beginning stages, and completion of the center’s construction is projected for February 2024.

In addition to health services, career training and housing for homeless LGBTQ youth will be provided at the center, state Rep. Lamont Robinson (D-5th) said.

A community input process on making the center a “safe, welcoming and affirming space” will be headed by project incubator Pride Action Tank. The input marks the first phase of the center’s roll-out.

That process will begin in “a few more weeks,” according to Pride Action Tank Executive Director Kim Hunt.

The unveiling of a web portal for community input is slotted for early 2020, according to Howard Brown Health president David Munar.

Decisions on which organizations will run the center’s social services will be announced by the end of 2020, according to a Howard Brown Health press release.

In the future, the center could provide an opportunity for new service organizations to start up and locate there, Robinson said. But for now, the focus is on providing space for existing groups.

Site selection is expected to be finalized by February 2021. Cost, safety and the needs of the surrounding community are the primary factors being considered for the center’s location, Robinson said.

“We’re looking at what else is going to be around the center from an economic development standpoint,” Robinson said. “We don’t just want to plop a center down; we want to be able to have a community around that center.”

Robinson announced the plans for the center on Aug. 24. He told the Hyde Park Herald that sites in Washington Park, Bronzeville and South Shore are currently under consideration.

Howard Brown Health opened an LGBTQ-focused clinic in Englewood, the first on the South Side, in 2016. The health care provider also operates clinics in Hyde Park and in Back of the Yards at Thresholds South.

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