This week the Campaign for Southern Equality is reopening applications for its COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program, making available $125,000 in grants for the immediate needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender southerners who are experiencing hardships due to the pandemic.
This round of grant making, applications for which open Thursday, will bring the total funding made available through the program to more than $200,000 since March.
The bulk of the new grant money — more than $100,000 — will be for $100 emergency assistance grants to be used for immediate needs like groceries, rent or mortgage payments and medicine. The program will also provide $500 community response grants and frontline grants to direct service providers that will be larger than $500.
Allocations will concentrate on reaching people of color, transgender people, people in rural areas and with low incomes, the group said in a release Wednesday. That continues a commitment to which the group has adhered in its first three region-wide rounds of grants. According to program info provided by the group, 60 percent of grant recipients have so far been people of color and 72 percent transgender or gender non-conforming. Those who received grants have described losing hourly jobs in the service industry and dealing with chronic health problems or the need to pay for hormone replacement therapy prescriptions.
“With these grants, we are moving money directly to individuals and families, because that is what people have told us will most effectively address their immediate needs,” said Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, in the release. “Right now, LGBTQ people across the South are hurting, worrying about how they’ll make it through the next month financially while also doing everything they can to remain healthy, save their jobs, and care for their loved ones.”
“Folks who have received grants already have let us know that these $100 emergency assistance grants not only allow them to buy food and make rent, but also let them know that there’s a community that cares about them and is ready to support them,” Beach-Ferrara said.
More information on the program, including how to apply, is available here.