[image-1] The Campaign for Southern Equality, an LGBTQ advocacy group, reopened applications yesterday for its COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant Program. The group will distribute $125,000 in grants to LGBTQ Southerners impacted by the coronavirus.

Over $100,000 of the total will be in Emergency Assistance Grants, the group says, which provide $100 directly to individuals of the LGBTQ community in need of assistance for groceries, rent, mortgages and medical bills. Community Response Grants will provide up to $500 for projects dedicated to helping LGBTQ Southerners during the pandemic. There is no specific end date for the applications, a spokesperson said. The grant will be paid out until the funds are exhausted.

A recent report from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation found that the LGBTQ community could be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. According to their research, LGBTQ people are more likely to work in highly impacted industries such as food service and they face existing health coverage gaps.

“In many cases, LGBTQ people are at greater exposure and risk of both economic and health complications than non-LGBTQ people,” the report concluded.
[content-1] The Campaign for Southern Equality’s Southern LGBTQ Health Survey, released in November, had similar findings. In South Carolina, 69.8 percent of respondents said they always, sometimes or often delay seeking health care because of the out-of-pocket cost.

The current round of grants are supported by We are Family locally, the Amy Mandel Foundation and the Families and Workers Fund. Since March, the Rapid Response Grant Program has provided $200,000 to LGBTQ people living in the South.

To apply, visit the Southern Equality Fund’s website.