16 Mar 2017
March 16, 2017

Q Center’s Information & Referral Program Goes Live!

March 16, 2017

Do you know that Q Center receives over 7,000 phone calls and emails annually? The majority of these calls are from community members seeking vetted LGBTQIA+ affirming services and providers. Thanks to the generous support of Oregon Community Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Grimmer family of The Picnic House Family of Restaurants, and Legacy Health as well as the diligent work of interns from Outside In and SMYRC, Q Center has been able to vastly improve our vital Information & Referral (I&R) program to better meet the needs of our communities.

Q Center’s LGBTQ+ Resources program is officially LIVE!

“Thanks to program assessment, technology upgrades, training, and our interns’ and volunteers’ dedication, we’ve doubled Q Center’s resource records in the last few months to 400 listings in our database” says Raina Daniels, Q Center’s Program Manager in charge of I&R. “We’ve specifically expanded our categories of medical and mental health providers–especially those who specifically work with trans and QTPOC clients and those that accept OHP/Medicaid. We’ve added several new categories to the database for example: ID assistance, non-medical transition-related services (like electrolysis and voice coaching), and have developed more instructional details for our volunteers to guide LGBTQ+ individuals and families to shelter and housing”.

Wonderful Q Center volunteer Kerry, surrounded by paper resource lists!

Wonderful Q Center volunteer Kerry, surrounded by paper resource lists!

We now have a trained team of Information & Referral volunteers and interns (available weekdays during our highest average call times) to perform in-depth searches in our expanded database and provide referrals by phone and email.  Our outdated and rudimentary spreadsheet-based resource lists (“Resources PDX”) have been replaced with an expansive and customizable database using iCarol Helpline Management Software, which allows us to organize and update resources more efficiently. We now have a public search portal of this database available online here. Our amazing front desk volunteers at Q Center will continue answering general calls 7 days a week as always, setting up for events, assisting our many support groups, managing our library, and giving friendly tours AND callers and visitors may now request a search through our dedicated LGBTQ+ Resource Line!

In addition to our database work, Kaiser Permanente’s capacity building award has helped us restructure our phone system to better direct calls and has created this separate Resource Line. As a caller, you can now press through to speak directly with an Information & Referral volunteer weekdays from 2-5p or leave a message to have your request returned. Q Center’s end of the database allows I&R specialists to provide referrals by phone or email, delivering pdfs with information directly to your inbox.

Q Center is so grateful for Legacy Health and Kaiser Permanente’s support, which will additionally have a direct and lasting impact on local LGBTQIA+ young adults. This I&R expansion has allowed Q Center to develop a partnership with Outside In’s Employment Program, which offers employment training for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. The new and improved I&R program serves the dual purpose of providing LGBTQIA+ youth from this program with much needed job skills while ensuring our database is continually expanded and updated to include as many LGBTQIA+ affirming services and providers as possible. “As an intern from Outside In, working here on the Q Center’s Information and Referral project has been one of the best experiences of my life, it has helped me gain skills. It has helped me become more active and motivated. I’m excited to see what direction these skills will take me in the future”, says Brandon, who’s been an awesome fit for our program’s work with a background and interest in coding and media and an intimate knowledge of local service navigation.

“Having this database here and evolving to serve people who call or come in is going to have a positive impact on the community, allowing us [at Q Center] to easily and accurately connect folks to the resources they need.”
We couldn’t said it better ourselves, Brandon!


What’s next? 

We are ready to accept additional provider listings from all around the state, and encourage supporters and providers to share us with their networks. The momentum of this service expansion relies on user-submitted information and we hope our community views this as a work-in-progress and a project that they can help shape.

We’ll be strengthening our relationships with other referral-providers through regular meetups at Q Center. If you are frequent LGBTQ+ resource-matchmaker, and would like to discuss partnering or helping to shape the program, please contact our Program Manager, Raina Daniels at raina@pdxqcenter.org!

If you have tech and customer service skills and are interested in volunteering on the resource team, please submit a Q Center
volunteer application here

If you are an unlisted service provider with training, experience, and services which benefit members of the LGBTQ+ community,
please share your basic information here to be contacted and have your listing screened for our database.
If you can afford to help Q Center do our important work, consider making a donation here

Everyone can help us by sharing your new knowledge about this program with your community, and using our helpline as needed!
We’re looking forward to taking your call!