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Meet the CARES Team


New counseling practice offers affirming care and support to underserved LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities

Wellspring works to end family homelessness by preventing and resolving housing and job instability and treating the trauma associated with being unhoused. Our full slate of counseling services includes the recent addition of Wellspring CARES (Community, Access, and Recovery for Everyone Services) – a new service for mental health and behavioral health needs within BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

Recognizing the link between oppression and exclusion with housing, and mental health, our goal is to offer a place of safety and healing. Wellspring CARES was created specifically to provide welcoming and affirming counseling services for adults, adolescents, couples, and families—including those who are currently unhoused or fearing the possibility of homelessness.

Did you know that LGBTQ+ people are more likely than non-LGBTQ+ people to experience homelessness? According to studies, up to 40% of the homeless population identifies as LGBTQ+. The reasons for this range from a lack of family support to job discrimination. Studies also show that suicide rates are higher for members of the LGBTQ+ community. CARES counselors understand how discrimination and stigma can manifest in the lives of those who identify as LGBTQ+, making them uniquely qualified to work with LGBTQ+ clients.

Mental health services that specialize in providing care to the LGBTQ+ community are often limited or even nonexistent. We asked the CARES counseling team why working with an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist can be beneficial. Here are their responses:


Enely Van Ness (she/her or they/them):

Enely Headshot

“Having an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist creates the opportunity for a strong therapeutic relationship. This relationship is one of the most crucial aspects of therapy. If you know your therapist understands you, you can trust them to provide affirming care.”


Miguel Chavez (he/him):

Headshot of Miguel

“As an LGBTQ+ person, I know the importance and benefits of working with an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist. A therapist who identifies as LGBTQ+ offers a unique and safe space for all queer people. A place to have open dialogue and to reinforce unconditional positive regard and support for their patients’ gender identities and sexual orientations.”


Elliot Thomas (he/him):

Headshot of Elliot

“Especially for trans clients, being able to work with a trans-competent therapist is a deeply affirming antidote to living in a transphobic society. Trans people already spend so much mental and emotional energy existing in a binary, cisgender world; trans-competent therapy creates a space where someone can stop bracing themselves for the next microaggression, and instead move from just surviving into thriving.”


Lees Hopkins (they/them):

Lees Headshot

“Trusting and connecting with a therapist is difficult for many people. LGBTQ+ (and LGBTQ+ competent) therapists bring a shared understanding of some of the amazing and some of the painful aspects of LGBTQ+ life into our work, which helps clients feel seen and appreciated.”


Duc Cao (he/him):

(Photo coming soon)

“LGBTQ+ affirming therapists create a safe space for clients to disclose and explore their identity without the fear of judgment or being outed involuntarily.”


Christopher Skaggs (he/him):

Headshot of Christopher

“Working with an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist means a lot of mutual understanding, terms, and experiences within the community. It means community. A therapist who has experienced oppression and internalized oppression can show up for you in a competent way to encourage and empower you to overcome and to recover.”


Analeigh Smith (she/her or they/them):

Headshot of Analeigh

“Working with an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist means working with someone who sees you as a whole person and will work hard to provide care that affirms everything that makes you who you are.”


The CARES Team is passionate about supporting the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. They are creating a safe space where it is encouraged to be your true and authentic self. A place where you will be seen, heard, and can begin healing. To learn more about our counseling services, please visit this Counseling Page.

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