CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers has released a letter signed by over 160 LGBT community centers across the nation, urging House and Senate leaders to include LGBTQ nonprofits in future COVID-19 relief packages.
While the first stimulus package certainly helped nonprofits, there is a larger demand for organizations catering to the LGBTQ community, specifically LGBTQ centers continuing to provide services to the community's most vulnerable groups amid the pandemic.
CenterLink has over 250 community centers in its network, which together serve almost 40,000 people each week and over 1.9 million people annually, according to its letter to Congress.
"On behalf of the undersigned LGBT community centers, we deeply appreciate that several key relief programs in the CARES Act were modified to include nonprofit eligibility," the letter states. "This approach recognizes the significant role that charitable nonprofits play as the third largest employer in our nation's economy and as valued problem solvers and essential service providers in a time of crisis. We are grateful that Congress recognized that every dollar granted, donated, or earned goes back into the community immediately to address the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic."
"However," the letter continues, "implementation challenges have arisen with federal agencies and private entities that undermine Congressional intent to provide economic relief for nonprofit organizations. As you work to build on the CARES Act, we are requesting an explicit nonprofit track to ensure that LGBT community centers are supported in their service on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis."
Specifically, the LGBTQ centers that signed the letter are urging Congress to include the following clarifications and provisions:
- Expand Nonprofit Access to Credit by designating funding exclusively for nonprofits within the principal loan programs established in the CARES Act, or under future relief efforts, to ensure that the organizations dedicated to addressing immediate pandemic-related problems are included in relief efforts and not excluded or pushed to the back of the line.
- Allocate at least $250 billion in additional funding for the PPL Program.
- Provide incentives to private lenders to prioritize processing of applications of small nonprofits and expand the eligibility for nonprofits to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program by removing the current 500-employee cap.
- Provide $60 billion in emergency assistance loans to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations like LGBT community centers.
- Expand the above-the-line, universal charitable deduction by eliminating the cap and allowing taxpayers to retroactively claim the deduction in 2019.
- Prioritize nonprofits including LGBT community centers and their employees in future unemployment insurance relief.
- Freeze rulemaking that is not directly related to the COVID-19 response and cease implementation of rules that undermine nondiscrimination protections and access to federally funded programs. During our nation's most devastating health crisis, no one should face discrimination in a health care setting.
"The reality is more assistance is needed for LGBT community centers," the letter concludes. "They are providing critical services such as medical care, mental health counseling, virtual support groups, filling prescriptions, providing hot meals and check-in phone calls for older adults, serving as shelters for homeless youth, distributing nonperishable food items and hygiene products, case management, HIV testing, and hosting virtual engagement activities to decrease social isolation. Given the current financial crisis and loss of revenue, LGBT community centers could be forced to shrink their services, meaning tens of thousands could go without care."
The LGBT centers that signed on to the letter are as follow:
All Under One Roof LGBTQ Advocate of Southeastern Idaho
Atlanta Pride Committee
Blue Ridge Pride Center
Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center
Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth (BAGLY, Inc.)
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
Brave Space Alliance
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Center of the Finger Lakes
Center on Halsted
Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation Pride Center
Colors+ Youth Center
Compass LGBTQ Community Center
Diversity Collective Ventura County
Full Spectrum Community Outreach Center
Gay City: Seattle's LGBTQ Center
Grand Rapids Pride Center
Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center
Hudson Pride Center
Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center
Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation
Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center
In Our Own Voices
Indiana Youth Group (IYG)
Inside Out Youth Services
Jim Toy Community Center
Kansas City Center for Inclusion
Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition
Latino Equality Alliance
LGBT Center of Central PA
LGBT Center of Greater Reading
LGBT Center of Raleigh
LGBT Community Center of SE Wisconsin
LGBT Community Center of the Desert
LGBT Equality Alliance of Chester County
LGBT Life Center
LGBT Network (Long Island/Queens)
LGBT QMUNITY Center of Montgomery County
LGBT+ Center Orlando, Inc.
LGBT+ Older Adult Community Centers of Puerto Rico
LGBTQ Center OC
Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth (LIGALY)
Long Island LGBT Center
Los Angeles LGBT Center
Louisville Youth Group
Metro Inclusive Health
Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
New Haven Pride Center
New Jersey AIDS Services
North San Diego County LGBTQ Resource Center
North Shore Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth
North Star LGBT Community Center
Northwest Arkansas Equality, Inc.
Oakland LGBTQ Community Center
Ohio Valley Pride
Oklahomans for Equality
Orlando Youth Alliance
Out Boulder County
Out On The Lakeshore
OutCenter of Southwest Michigan
Pacific Center for Human Growth
Pacific Pride Foundation
Pride Center of Staten Island
Pride Center of the Capital Region
Pride Center of Vermont
Pride Community Center, Inc
Pride Community Services Organization
Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities
QSpot LGBT Community Center
Queens Community House
Queens LGBT Center
Queer Connect, Inc.
QWELL Community Foundation
Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County
Rainbow Youth Center
Rockland County Pride Center
Ruth Ellis Center
Sacramento LGBT Community Center
San Diego LGBT Community Center
San Diego LGBT Visitors Center
San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center
Schenectady Safe Space
Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders-Long Island (SAGE-LI)
Shenandoah LGBTQ Center
Side By Side
SOJOURN (Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender & Sexual Diversity)
Solano Pride Center
Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation
Spencer Pride commUnity center
St Pete Pride
Stand with Trans
The Center - LGBTQ Center of Bay County
The Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity - Bakersfield, CA
The Center Kissimmee
The Center Las Vegas
The Center on Colfax
The Center Orlando
The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection
The DC Center for the LGBT Community
The Diversity Center of Santa Cruz County
The Equality Community Center
The Frederick Center
The Fresno LGBTQ+ Resource Center/Sanctuary and Support Services
The Gala Pride and Diversity Center
The Greater Dayton LGBT Center
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
The LGBTQ Center
The LGBTQ Center Long Beach
The LGBTQ Center-South Bend
The Pride Center at Equality Park
The Pride Center of Maryland
The Pride Center of New Jersey
The Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance
The Source LGBT+ Center
The Spahr Center
Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th
Time Out Youth Center
Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico
Triangle Community Center
True Colors, Inc. CT
Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance (UGLA)
Us Giving Richmond Connections
Washington County Gay Straight Alliance, Inc.
Waves Ahead Puerto Rico
William Way Community Center
Youth OUTright WNC, Inc.
Youth Pride, Inc.