Member Spotlight: The Montrose Center


Our latest member spotlight is on The Montrose Center, a Houston- based organization that provides community support and care for LGBTQ individuals. The Montrose Center is one of several TNOYS member organizations working to improve equity for a diverse population of youth, including those in the LGBTQ community. Their Youth Services programming is an excellent example of how specialized, accessible services can fully support and empower youth who identify as LGBTQ.

The Montrose Center has been an important part of Houston’s LGBTQ community for over 42 years. Founded in 1978, the center was started by grassroots activists who saw a need in the community for affirming, pro-LGBTQ therapy. The center later grew to include Hatch Youth, a program that was founded in collaboration with a youth to provide support for Houston’s LGBTQ young people. 

Today, Hatch Youth serves children and youth ages 13 – 20, and the Hatch Jr. program serves children ages 7 -12. Each program hosts an LGBTQ youth social group that meets three times per week, providing youth with a safe space to socialize and work with adult mentors. The group also provides access for those who may be interested in a referral for mental health support through The Montrose Center. As Youth Program Specialist Deb Murphy explains, “Having youth {access services through the Montrose Center} is really nice because it removes the barrier – they know where the building is, they’ve been in here, it’s not scary. It makes it easier {for youth} to act on the referral and get the services they need.” 

Youth are not always able to access on-site services, which is where the Montrose Center’s community and school partnerships come in. Through a collaboration with Communities in Schools (CIS), the Montrose Center’s Safe Zones Project sends licensed therapists to work with LGBTQ youth in schools. The collaboration first got started when a CIS employee realized that many kids who needed services were unable to get to the Montrose Center. As Deb Murphy recalled, “Together {with CIS}, we came up with something called In-School Hatch, where I would go out and do work groups in schools with these kids. Eventually, we got grant money to support the process of sending licensed therapists to support groups, as a way to reach kids who can’t get to us”. 

Addressing Homelessness through Accessible and Affirming Services

Accessibility is also a big part of the Montrose Center’s work with youth who are experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Their Youth Services outreach team identifies youth who are homeless and ensures that they can access support. When working with youth in the Rapid Rehousing program, Montrose Center staff often connect youth with counseling and help address family conflict and other traumas that may have led to their housing instability. 

This is especially important for transgender youth: as Deb explained, it is can be very difficult for transgender youth to find affirming providers. The Montrose Center often works with transgender youth who come in for services such as rapid rehousing, and connects them with additional support. 

“There are resources here for transgender people who are over 18, which they would be if they’re in the housing program,” Deb explained, “ People can come {to support groups} and they can find community, talk about their issues, and get support. These groups are community-based groups, and they are completely free. I think that kind of access is so important for this community.” 

To learn more about the Montrose Center and their services for youth, please visit

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