“The human condition is to be around others—we crave community, and The Center is a space for that.”
“As an Information & Referral Specialist at the Front Desk of The Center, I connect community members to any services or referrals they may need. My day-to-day work runs the gamut: sometimes I’m directing folks to their meeting space or answering simple questions, but other times I may be trying to allocate resources to someone in a real crisis, like being unstably housed, experiencing food insecurity, or a mental health emergency. The Center’s Front Desk staff serve as frontline responders for anyone who turns to us, and a great deal of empathy and a deep understanding of the intersections of our community’s population is needed.
New York has a way of adapting quickly to new circumstances, especially if it affects us as a whole. The day we closed The Center at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic feels like a blur, and it was frightening. The Center is a space where a lot of people come together at the same time, so we knew we had to make an action plan to keep our community safe. We quickly set up technological solutions to provide virtual support. Our days went from face-to-face, hands-on interactions at the Front Desk to fielding thousands of phone calls and responding to online chats and email in order to connect folks to the services they needed during the height of quarantine. Even now that The Center has reopened, virtual and hybrid programming has proven to be essential. It will be a part of our work for the foreseeable future.
The human condition is to be around others—we crave community, and The Center is a space for that. Even though we’ll likely feel the pandemic’s lasting impact for years, we’ll continue to take precautions and make sure our most vulnerable community members are supported and looked after. Taking care of each other is one of the seedlings of how the LGBTQ community even first came to be. We must always uplift and include the folks most at risk of being isolated or marginalized. Hopefully, they can join us in the building when they feel safe and ready.”