The 13th Annual Helping Survivors Heal Fundraising Event

We attended the 13th Annual Helping Survivors Heal Fundraising Event taking place on September 14, 2023.

Report Update: Human Dignity Foundation

Date Awarded: 7/22/2023
Grant Awarded: Funding to support LGBTQIA+ survivors of torture.

Current Activities and Services
SURVIVORS is currently serving 44 active clients who identify as LGBTQIA+.

All of these clients underwent eligibility, intake, and assessment with our clinical team members to assess their level of need and establish wellness plans. These clients are receiving support from SURVIVORS through a wide range of services, including: 

  • medical and mental health care,
  • social support (including peer support and healing clubs),
  • case management and linkages to additional resources,
  • forensic evaluation in support of their asylum cases as needed,
  • other legal support services, and
  • access to as well as deliveries of goods and basic needs.
    SURVIVORS has also used these last months to prepare for the launch of our new LGBTQIA+ group this fall. Our clinical team researched this client population’s needs in consultation with local LGBTQIA+ centers; determined interest level among current clients; reviewed the skill sets of current staff to assist with hosting groups for the intersection of lived experience, needs, and abilities; began developing a group curriculum; and started investigating facilitator opportunities for the group with specialized mental health professionals. 

Client Story from this Grant Period
Identifiers have been changed for confidentiality.

SURVIVORS’ clients, Imani and Kofi, came to SURVIVORS after escaping from their home country in Africa due to escalating threats to their lives for being bisexual. As the community began to suspect their sexual orientation, they and their family experienced the unlawful entry of their home, physical assault, and interrogations. These threats and assaults continued to escalate, and in 2023, a family member was physically assaulted to the point that they required hospitalization to treat the facial and body wounds endured during the attack. These attacks could not be reported to officials, as homosexuality is illegal in their home country, and those who identify or are affiliated with this group are punished and/or imprisoned. After being watched, stalked, threatened, and attacked for approximately 2 years, Imani and Kofi were forced to flee, leaving their children behind, and undertake the arduous journey to the United States.
After arriving in the U.S., they were confused, isolated, and experienced homelessness, without access to traditional public support services and ineligible for work authorization as they tried to navigate the difficult immigration process to file for asylum. They spent their first months in San Diego living between homeless shelters, searching for help and resources to survive. 

Kofi and Imani learned of SURVIVORS through community groups and referred themselves to us for access to care. After coming to SURVIVORS, they were immediately enrolled in our FREE services. SURVIVORS’ team provided them with food, clothing, and hygiene items to address their urgent needs and began case management to connect with resources they could access. During their assessments, they also presented with PTSD, emotional instability, and generalized anxiety disorder. SURVIVORS’ clinical team explained the wide range of health options they could participate in, and they chose to enroll in our health services to address their mental, physical, and psychiatric needs. SURVIVORS learned of their attorney and connected with them for any legal support service needed to assist with their asylum case. To address their housing needs, SURVIVORS connected with a case navigator at Transfronteras, who is securing housing options for them. Imani and Kofi were athletes in their home country. To help them heal and integrate into their new communities here, SURVIVORS provided them with transportation passes so they could travel from the shelters to social activities and attend games and sports of their interest, through which they joined a team and have been winning sports competitions and are making friends. 

Today, Kofi and Imani report improvement in their overall well-being. They are active members of community groups, sports teams, and LGBTQ+ groups, and they continue to receive regular mental, medical, and social services from SURVIVORS as they await work authorization and the next steps in their asylum case.