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New fund offers direct aid to Minnesota LGBTQ community

Queer and trans people disproportionately suffer from food and housing insecurity, and that's only getting worse with COVID-19.

Queer and trans people disproportionately suffer from food and housing insecurity, and that's only getting worse with COVID-19. Nicole Neri, Star Tribune

disturbing report published this year revealed just how many queer and trans folks suffer from food insecurity -- as in, not knowing where your next meal is coming from.

Using data on some 160,000 adults in 2017, researchers at the Williams Institute found queer and trans people represent an outsized portion of food insecurity in America. Roughly one in four members of the LGBTQ community experienced food insecurity the previous year. Women, people of color, young adults, and people with low incomes are particularly at risk.

If finding money to eat and keep a roof over your head was hard before COVID-19, it's a lot harder mid-pandemic.

Monica Meyer, director of queer and trans advocacy group OutFront Minnesota, says many LGBTQ people in Minnesota are struggling to make ends meet, and without public assistance.

“A lot of people, for whatever reason, didn’t get any of the stimulus money, and aren’t getting any kind of unemployment benefits,” she says. “And they’re worried about being able to keep their housing and eat.”

Thanks to money contributed by several benefactors -- including the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis Foundation -- OutFront has a fund for queer and trans Minnesotans who are down and out thanks to COVID. Food, housing, you name it.

Benefits are distributed in one-time sums between $250 and $2,500. They’re accepting applications throughout the month of May.

“We tried to make the process to fill out the application as simple as we could,” she says.

OutFront has $92,500 to distribute -- a nice start, but 226 people had already applied for financial support as of Friday, and those requests combined would cost upwards of $250,000. OutFront is asking anyone who’s willing and able to donate, which you can do at the organization’s website.

If you’re looking for other ways to help out -- and maybe offload a stimulus check you don’t necessarily need or want -- you can find a further list of worthy recipients here.