Proyecto Poderoso: Overview

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people reside in every community, in every pocket of the country.

An analysis by the Williams Institute shows that more than 136,000 self-identified LGBT people reside in rural California counties, where they struggles with poverty, unemployment, and blatant discrimination.

To help, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) launched an innovative new project—Proyecto Poderoso or Powerful Project—in 2007 aimed at improving legal services to low-income LGBT people in rural California.

Proyecto Poderoso has since become a national model that is making a difference in the lives of underrepresented LGBT Californians by improving access to LGBT-specific legal services, and for the better changing the way rural communities see LGBT people.

Proyecto Poderoso accomplishes its goal of improving legal services to rural LGBT people through organizational capacity building. Under the auspices of Proyecto Poderoso, NCLR, with CRLA, is helping build the expertise of rural legal aid organizations to address issues commonly affecting LGBT communities and key legal protections available to address those concerns. NCLR and CRLA provides training support and materials on providing competent services to LGBT clients, as well as substantive issues such as employment, housing, family law, immigration, and many other areas. Ultimately, legal aids organization expanded expertise will improve and increase legal representation to low-income LGBT individuals in rural California and in rural communities across the country.