Deep Dish - What is Your ANCHOR?: LGBTQA Young Adults Building Community and Finding Home

Thursday, November 5, 2015 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Ian Ellasante and Courtney Waters, UA SIROW
The University of Arizona, McClelland Park Building, 650 North Park Avenue, Room 402

The University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women (UA-SIROW) partners with the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) and CODAC Behavioral Health Services to implement the ANCHOR Project (Accessible Network for Coordinated Housing, Opportunities, and Resilience). The ANCHOR Project is designed to provide trauma-informed, culturally responsive services to unstably housed young adults who identify with the spectrum of LGBTQA communities. The SAMHSA-funded project creates an LGBTQ-affirming system of care, providing outreach, employment and educational support, community building opportunities, and sexual health education, with linkages to permanent supportive housing, primary health care, and substance abuse and mental health treatment.

This presentation will include an overview of the ANCHOR Project, its evidence-based practices, and its community-based participatory research techniques. It will also highlight the development of the ANCHOR Supplemental Questionnaire, a data collection tool designed to capture information about gender identity, sexual identity, and changes in these categories over time among participants.


Ian Ellasante is an Assistant Research Social Scientist with the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW) and serves as the Program and Evaluation Coordinator for the ANCHOR Project. As a part of the team, Ian ensures that all aspects of the ANCHOR Project are in alignment with the project’s goals. Prior to the start of the ANCHOR Project, Ian was the Program Coordinator for iTEAM, a project supporting unstably-housed LGBTQA youth and young adults, and oversaw operations for Eon, a drop-in center for LGBTQA youth. Ian is completing his Ph.D. in American Indian Studies with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona. Originally from Memphis, he has made Tucson his home since 2007.

Courtney Waters is an Assistant Research Social Scientist with the University of Arizona’s Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW). She is currently a Health Educator for the ANCHOR Project, a program supporting unstably housed LGBTQSA young adults. Courtney’s role includes facilitating a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum and a trauma support group, as well as conducting intake and follow-up interviews with project participants. Courtney holds Masters degrees in Public Health and Mexican American Studies from the University of Arizona and earned her bachelor’s in Biobehavioral Health from Penn State University.