Fresno EOC offering virtual support services to LGBTQ+ community

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission is providing some much-needed resources to a pair of vulnerable populations.

Paulina Rodriguez just moved back to the Central Valley when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and said she felt isolated and alone. That's when she started attending Fresno EOC's LGBTQ+ virtual support groups.

"You kind of just bring up whatever you want to talk about," said Rodriguez. "Sometimes it can be small stuff, sometimes you can have a breakthrough, and you want to share it with someone who understands."

She's one of many that's using Fresno EOC's online resources.

"To have that safe space, you can still communicate with people, and to have that support from people that understand I think is vital," said Rodriguez.

Amid the pandemic, Fresno EOC shifted gears. Central Valley Against Human Trafficking and the LGBTQ+ resource centers are two projects that immediately moved online.

"We're doing four times the amount that we were in person," said Fresno EOC's LGBTQ+ Manager, Jennifer Cruz. "We were doing one a day, and virtually we're doing four a day."

Fresno EOC is providing everything from support groups to case management, virtually.

"Some of the vulnerabilities created by COVID-19 are some of the vulnerabilities that make people vulnerable to trafficking," said Human Trafficking Program Manager Sarah Johnston. "Insecurity, isolation, scarcity, all of those things are vulnerabilities that are exploited by someone."

They're combating the crisis with zoom sessions, phone calls even video chats. If you'd like to learn more about Fresno EOC's resources visit their website. You can contact their LGBTQ+ support group at (559) 325-4527 or Lgbtq@fresnoeoc.org. You can talk to a Central Valley Against Human Trafficking advocate on call (559)263-1379
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