LOS ANGELES — Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, launched a consumer-friendly website and help line on Monday to connect LGBTQ+ Californians impacted by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis with LGBTQ+ friendly resources and support services. In the coming weeks, the organization will expand the website to include comprehensive directories of service providers in each of the state’s 58 counties and launch a series of free webinars for people facing unemployment or lost wages.
“The COVID-19 LGBTQ+ Help Center and Help Line are roadmaps for members of our community to find the support they need from providers who know and care about LGBTQ+ people,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur. “We’re in this together. Whether you need to get tested, file for unemployment or a loan, find a foodbank or talk to a mental health professional, we’re here to help. Go to the website, call the phone number or send us an email and we’ll get you to the right place.”
The LGBTQ+ community has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis because of underlying health disparities and economic vulnerabilities. LGBTQ+ people face higher rates of comorbidities such as HIV and cancer, are more likely to use tobacco products, are less likely to have health insurance and less likely to access care when they are sick out of fear of discrimination. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are also overrepresented in the industries hit hardest by economic fallout, such as the food services and hospitality industries and the gig economy. And LGBTQ+ elders already faced isolation and were less likely to reach out for support before the crisis began.
Many LGBTQ+ people impacted by the crisis are navigating the social safety net for the first time. There is a tremendous amount of need, and while many resources and support services are available, they aren’t necessarily getting into the right hands. The goal of the Help Center and Help Line is to make that connection.
The COVID-19 LGBTQ+ Help Center and Help Line are made possible by grants from the AT&T Foundation and Sempra Energy Foundation. Equality California’s Nevada-based affiliate Silver State Equality plans to launch a similar comprehensive online help center in the coming weeks with support from Wynn Resorts.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org