Housing survey

Karyn Chin, a queer woman, a person of color and a single mom to her daughter Zoë Greenwood, 5, has found it difficult to find mental health care in Jackson that suits her needs. When she heard about a community mental health needs survey, she was ready to fill it out. However, the survey left her disappointed. “At every moment a question about my identity was being asked, some part of my identity was being erased,” Chin said.

Throughout the pandemic, Karyn Chin searched for mental health care in Jackson that suited her needs.

But as a queer woman, a person of color and a single mom, she had trouble finding a provider that fit her and could address mental health issues for people who felt marginalized.

So when she heard about a Community Foundation of Jackson Hole survey intended to better understand the community’s mental health needs she was ready to fill it out.

“I was like, ‘Oh great, I really actually have something to say about this,’” Chin said.

But what she found disappointed her.

“At every moment a question about my identity was being asked, some part of my identity was being erased,” Chin said.

Twice in the span of a few months, major community institutions — first the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole and, later, the Jackson/Teton County Housing Department — distributed surveys as part of efforts to understand the needs of the Jackson Hole community, including people from backgrounds typically underrepresented in regional data.

The Community Foundation’s study, the Behavioral Health Needs Assessment, was intended to evaluate the community’s mental health needs, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic; the Housing Department’s project, the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, aimed to gather information to set housing policy and build new homes suitable for local workers.

But in both cases, people who spoke with the News&Guide felt that the surveys marginalized community members: In the Community Foundation’s case, LGBTQIA respondents and Jacksonites of color and, in the Housing Department’s case, the valley’s Spanish-speaking population.

Read more about how community leaders have responded in this week's News&Guide. You can also read online at JHNewsAndGuide.com.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

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