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Equality Illinois distributes COVID relief funds to downstate LGBTQ orgs

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CHICAGO — Equality Illinois has distributed more than $115,000 in COVID relief grants to LGBTQ organizations outside of Chicago.

According to a press release, Equality Illinois received the money through a grant from the Illinois COVID Response Fund.

The organization said it was working with community partners Acorn Equality Fund (Peoria), Phoenix Center (Springfield), African-American Lesbian Professionals Having a Say(ALPHAS) (Quad Cities), Rainbow Café (Carbondale), and Prairie Pride Coalition (Bloomington). The groups have 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 

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). This has only gotten worse during the pandemic.

In additional to the 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.

The grants directly helped people struggling in the pandemic.

“It helped us with our electricity bill, phone bill, and some car repairs to keep my girlfriend and I going back and forth. Thank you all so much, it really helped us out!” said Shane L., a Rainbow Café grantee in Jackson County.

“This grant has allowed me to get my car fixed so I am able to get to work and continue to run Neighborhood House’s food pantry and youth meal programming,” said Trevor N. in Peoria County, an Acorn Equality Fund grantee. “So I am able to continue to help decrease the food insecurities in our area.”

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