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Southwest Center Awarded More Than $150,000 from Mercy Care to Fund Gender-Expansive Housing Support Program
By Alison Bailin - Tuesday Nov 01, 2022
The Southwest Center, Arizona's home for affordable and inclusive quality primary healthcare and wellness for all those seeking compassionate care – especially people of color, Queer and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, and those affected by HIV, has been awarded $156,000 through the Mercy C.A.R.E.S. Community Reinvestment grant program to support the organization’s Gender-Expansive Housing Support Program, which provides free housing to individuals who are in the process of affirming their identity.

“This award will support 24 of our clients over the next three years,” says Jessyca Leach, executive director of the Southwest Center. “All too often, housing insecurity creates additional healthcare challenges, and people are often forced to sacrifice their health – both mental and physical – to ensure they can pay rent. Through this support, our clients will have the space to prioritize their physical and mental health and focus on workforce development with our navigators, leading to better health outcomes.”

According to the Southwest Center, one in five transgender people in the United States has been discriminated against when seeking a home, and more than one in 10 have been evicted from their homes because of their gender identity.

“This grant is intended to directly support Southwest Center’s clients who seek to be their most authentic selves that have – as a result – faced family rejection, discrimination, and hate. Lack of awareness, ignorance, or hate directly leads to violence,” says Christie MacMurray, adult system of care administrator at Mercy Care. “With this grant, we hope to not only support Southwest Center in changing lives but also in saving them.”

Mercy C.A.R.E.S., which stands for Community Action Resources Education and Service, is Mercy Care’s community giving initiative. Through grant funding, sponsorships, volunteer efforts and board participation, Mercy C.A.R.E.S supports AHCCCS’ Whole Person Care Initiative, which addresses Social Risk Factors to improve health outcomes. An important part of this initiative is the Mercy C.A.R.E.S. Community Reinvestment grant program. It supports organizations that address Mercy Care’s key community health focus areas, which are centered on advancing health equity: managing chronic conditions; supporting mental health and well-being; addressing housing security; and empowering recovery from substance.