The LGBT+ community in Windsor-Essex received a big boost of cash for community outreach programs over the weekend.
Windsor Pride Fest has been awarded a Ontario Trillium Grant of nearly $460,000.
That money will be given to the organization over the course of the next three years, according to Windsor west MPP Lisa Gretzky. She was on hand to present the grant at the conclusion of a successful pride parade on Sunday.
Gretzky told AM800 News the money will allow Windsor Pride to create more programs geared to help those who might feel marginalizes and isolated.
'What they're going to do is run a program that is specifically meant to council these people," says Gretzky. "Provide them with social interactions, introduce them to other people like themselves and those out in the community, and hopefully give them the support that they need so that they don't slip into that social isolation.
"Mental health programs are underfunded in general, but Gretzky says programs for people who deal with social isolation on a grand scale need a different approach.
Depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicide, are outcomes that can be avoided with programs that cater directly to the LGBT+ community, added Gretzky.
"When you're looking at the LGBT+ community, they have very specific needs when it comes to those supports," says Gretzky. "Unfortunately, still, in this day and age they face discrimination for just being who they are, so they need to know that there's allies in the community and other people like them who understand and are there to support them."
Events spread throughout Pride Week can now be spread throughout the year as well, and Gretzky says it's something she hopes will catch on elsewhere.
"They'll be able to provide more consistent support through events and through outreach programs," says Gretzky. "It's really a good opportunity for those within Windsor-Essex County to take advantage of what Windsor Pride Fest has to offer, and then take that outside of our community as well."
Festival Board President David Lenz told AM800 News plans already in the works to create easier access to social events for the LGBT+ community in more remote parts of Windsor-Essex.
More programs are being developed in the near future and the money will help make them a reality, according to Lenz.