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UA launching program to help at-risk LGBTQ adults

PHOENIX — The University of Arizona is launching a new program aimed at reaching out to at-risk young adults who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning.

The university’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women is launching the program, entitled ANCHOR, after receiving a contract of $400,000 to operate for a year, according to the program’s coordinator Ian Ellasante.

Ellasante said ANCHOR aims to coordinate services between CODAC Behavioral Health Services and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundations to provide assistance to at-risk LGBTQ adults. Many of the people that will be assisted by the program are dealing with substance abuse issues and many are in unstable housing, according to Ellasante.

“Research and data consistently shows that of youth who are on the streets… 20 to 40 percent identify as LGBTQ,” Ellasante said.

By coordinating referrals and services between CODAC, the Southwest Institute for Research on Woman and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, Ellasante said those at-risk adults can get a broad array of services such as help with housing, education and even trauma support.

ANCHOR will focus on LGBTQ adults between the ages of 18 and 26, and Ellasante said providing services to those adults could go a long way in helping them make long-term changes to lead healthy and normal lives.