OCEANSIDE — The grand opening for the new North County LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) Resource Center on Mission Avenue was set for this month, instead a site tour was held in anticipation of its opening in March.
The tour on Dec. 12 invited city staff, supporters and neighboring residents to look at the unfinished space the center will occupy, learn about its programs and make donations. Neighbors to the center’s future location on 3220 Mission Avenue are North County Health Services and La Mision Village Apartments, which provides low-income family housing.
The new 2,400-square-foot site is almost twice the size of the present facility, and monthly rent will be about half of the current rate. This allows more support programs and activities to be held.
Max Disposti, North County LGBTQ Resource Center executive director, said some programs have been on hold because of lack of space at the present site.
One new program will address healthy eating, and include a catering truck stop at the center that will sell nutritious $2 meals.
The resource center also received a grant to begin a program to prevent and fight human trafficking.
The center currently runs 22 programs and activities including services for elderly, youth, HIV AIDS patients and women as well as counseling and outreach.
Finish work on the new site will begin after the first of the year. A call for bids on construction is expected to go out in January, and building is anticipated to start in February. Infrastructure will be added, and the open office space will be divided into a reception area and six rooms.
The new location is projected to open in early March. Resource center programs and activities will continue at its current location at 510 North Coast Highway 101 until then.
In other good news Oceanside recently earned a near perfect score of 97 out of 100 in the Municipal Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign. The survey rates cities on 41 criteria including non-discrimination laws, contracting policies, transgender benefits and inclusive city and law enforcement representation by LGBT leaders.
Disposti said Oceanside was already doing a lot of the right things. The North County LGBTQ Resource Center worked with the city to appoint city, police and fire liaisons to the resource center, include transgender reassignment surgery in city employee health coverage, and provide a link to LGBT services on the city website.