The Santa Marta Anglican Center:
What we do
Comprehensive support and emergency shelter for LGBTIQ+ young adults in El Salvador facing homelessness and violence
To welcome and provide immediate, comprehensive, and warm care to LGBTIQ+ young adults facing violence, homelessness and deportation.
To be a center of attention, community, inclusion, and prosperity that promotes the rights for LGBTIQ+ youth, and to contribute to ending the cycle of violence and the social construction of hatred against sexual diversity.
Widespread homophobia and transphobia in El Salvador and the world leaves many LGBTIQ+ young adults in fear of being kicked out of their homes, facing domestic violence, and lacking a home to return to when deported. In El Salvador, many live with their parents through their 20s, and can be kicked out even as adults.
Qualitative studies in El Salvador and quantitative studies elsewhere suggest that LGBTIQ+ people face violence and homelessness at higher rates than the general population. On the street, they are at greater risk of trafficking, sexual violence, and hate crimes.
Religion plays a huge role in spreading hate and discrimination because churches are some of the most trusted and influential institutions in El Salvador. Unfortunately, too many churches are not open and affirming, but instead condemn LGBTIQ+ people. The Anglican Church of El Salvador is in a unique position to promote a counter narrative to the story many LGBTIQ+ people and their families hear from faith leaders.
We interrupt this cycle, providing support and shelter to LGBTQ+ adults 18-30 years old. At the Santa Marta Anglican Center, clients build a loving community and uplift and inspire one another as they collaborate to find sustainable options for the future. We accompany our clients through Five Pillars of Accompaniment:
Refuge: Fulfill emergency needs and provide ongoing housing, food, loving community, and basic hygiene while clients are in our program.
Psychosocial Care: Accompany clients with an evaluation before entering the refuge, attention in crisis on arrival and ongoing support after leaving.
Empowerment: Equip clients with information on human rights, health, and sexual diversity.
Employment & Housing: Give basic job training and help writing resumés, connecting with employers, and identifying housing options.
Pastoral Care (optional): Explore queer theology and support clients as they develop a faith that celebrates their whole self.
But don't take our word for it! Check out this article by the Washington Blade about our work.