Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people; through a grant the Illinois COVID Response Fund (ICRF) and community organizations, has awarded over $115,000 in COVID relief grants to LGBTQ Illinoisans living outside the Chicagoland area.
“Prior to this crisis, the LGBTQ community was already more vulnerable to health and economic risks. Now with the largest scale health and economic crisis we have seen in over a century, the LGBTQ community needs additional support to survive this pandemic.” BCJ The LGBTQ community already experiences poverty at higher rates than the straight/cis community. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, “LGBT people collectively have a poverty rate of 21.6%, which is much higher than the rate for cisgender straight people of 15.7%. Among LGBT people, transgender people have especially high rates of poverty—29.4%.” (October 2019)
Advancing the process from talk to action, Equality Illinois working with community partners Acorn Equality Fund, Phoenix Center, African-American Lesbian Professionals Having a Say(ALPHAS), Rainbow Café, and Prairie Pride Coalition; has distributed out grants to 161 individuals in need. The demographic breakdown of grants distributed are as followed:
- 27% went to trans and gender non-conforming grantees
- 38% went to Black, indigenous, and people of color grantees
- 14% went to grantees who are homeless or unstably housed
In additional to the cash relief grants, Equality Illinois launched a public education campaign and COVID resource HUB to help individuals understand the federal, state, and local resources available to help them cope with the challenges of this unprecedented global health crisis, focusing on healthcare, employment, housing, and other key areas, as identified by EI’s stakeholders. To date Equality Illinois has reached 231,000 Illinoisans with our resource page promotion and 10,000 people have accessed our resource HUB.