LGBTQ centers want financial help in COVID-19 relief packages

COVID-19 relief LGBTQ Centers

This photo shows the entrance to the Sacramento LGBT Center. Photo: Sacramento LGBT Center.

More than 160 LGBTQ centers have sent a letter to Congress asking that LGBTQ nonprofits be included for financial assistance and other help in future COVID-19 relief packages.

The letter was sent on behalf of CenterLink, a network of more than 250 LGBTQ centers that serve approximately 40,000 people weekly and more than 1.9 people annually, according to its letter to Congress.

“Centers across the nation continue to offer food, medical care, housing, and other basic necessities during the COVID-19 pandemic,” CenterLink interim CEO Denise Spivak said in statement. “At this moment, the need for services has never been greater.”

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Specifically, the LGBTQ centers want Congress to take specific actions:

  • 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 a minimum $250 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection 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 500-employee cap.
  • Provide $60 billion in emergency assistance loans to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations such as LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ 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.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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