LGBTQ Poverty Collaborative hosts Chicago meeting by Tracy Baim, Windy City Times 2015-03-26
This article shared 5052 times since Thu Mar 26, 2015
The LGBTQ Poverty Collaborative, a new national network of individuals and organizations fighting economic disparities, hosted a forum for Chicago-area foundations March 26 at the offices of Clark Hill PLC.
Reverend Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House and Social Service Agency, has working on this national poverty visibility effort for the past couple of years. This collaborative will have a wide-ranging approach to the issue, including research, policy, visibility and advocating for more funding in this area.
Special presenters at the meeting were longtime community leader Urvashi Vaid of The Vaid Group; Dr. M.V. Lee Badgett, founder and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration; Laura Durso, director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project for the Center for American Progress; and former Chicagoan Bianca D.M. Wilson, senior scholar of public policy at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. Badgett was also representing the Williams Institute at the meeting.
The collaborative participated in the Equality Caucus briefing of the 114th Congress March 4 in Washington, D.C. "The Economics of Equality" was hosted by incoming vice-chair of the Equality Caucus Rep. Mike Quigley from Illinois. Sloan, Badgett, Durso and Vaid were on that panel.
More than a dozen foundations and corporations were represented at the Chicago meeting March 26. Jim McDonough of Alphawood Foundation and Ray Koenig of Clark Hill welcomed attendees. McDonough said his foundation will be committing $100,000 to the launch of the efforts.
The group learned details about poverty rates of LGBTQ singles and couples, showing the higher rates of poverty experienced by this population. While transgender people and lesbians in general were more likely to experience poverty, there are indicators that certain demographics of gay men are also slightly more likely to be in poverty than their heterosexual peers.
In 2012, the poverty rate for differently sexed married couples was 5.8 percent; for same-sex male couples 3.3 percent, but for same-sex female couples it was 7.9 percent.
For single heterosexual men it was 13.4 percent, single GBT men 20.1 percent, single heterosexual women 19.1 percent and lesbian single women 21.5 percent.
Badgett also noted that LGBTQs have higher rates of food instability, and they are over-represented in homeless populations. Studies estimate that from 28-40 percent of the homeless are LGBTQ. For LGBTQ youth in foster care, they also experience more instability in their housing than their heterosexual peers.
Wilson said studies of LGBTQ youth in foster care show they make up 13.4 percent of the foster care population, even though they are just 7.2 percent of the general population. Meanwhile, transgender individuals are 2.25 percent of the population and 5.6 percent of youth in foster care.
Wilson noted that race and parenthood status also relate directly to the numbers of LGBTQs in poverty. She said transgender individuals experience high unemployment and poverty rates.
Durso said three primary failures of law lead to some of these high poverty figures. One is the lack of protection from discrimination, another is refusal to recognize LGBT families, and the third is the failure to adequately protect students.
Durso emphasized how local and national policies can be changed to assist LGBTQs. For example, in the expansion of Medicaid coverage for the uninsured, and expansion of the coverage definitions for both the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs.
Sloan presented his plan for a project to raise the visibility of poverty-related issues inside and outside of the LGBTQ community. The program, described as a combination of the It Gets Better project and the Jewish United Fund, would also seek to raise funds for poverty-related projects across the U.S. through an annual campaign every June.
Vaid and Sloan said the next steps are to get funding from both local and national foundations to bring together policy work, research, visibility and on-the-ground efforts under the umbrella of the LGBTQ Poverty Collaborative, to more quickly address the issues and help organizations doing this anti-poverty work already.
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This article shared 5052 times since Thu Mar 26, 2015
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