When one•n•ten first launched, it did so in an effort to create a sense of community and a source of support for some of the state’s most vulnerable. Now, recent world events are forcing one•n•ten and other organizations that provide potentially life-saving services to LGBTQ youth to adapt to a new reality – and they can’t do it alone.
“No one could have forecasted the global crisis that we’re now facing, but the fact is, the local LGBTQ community needs our support now more than ever,” said one•n•ten Executive Director Nate Rhoton. “That’s the sentiment behind our first-ever one•n•ten Emergency Relief Fund, and it’s also why we’re asking new and existing donors to step up now, more than ever, in any way they can.”
Globally we are facing new and unprecedented circumstances, young LGBTQ populations have become particularly vulnerable. Many of them have lost their jobs, leading to housing instability and homelessness, and many of them are also lacking access to health care. LGBTQ communities, especially transgender individuals, may also be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 due in part to having higher rates of unemployment, homelessness and health challenges, which can lead to weakened immune systems.
To help combat the upsurge in LGBTQ community members need for financial and emotional support amidst the ongoing crisis, one•n•ten has taken two major steps. First, it launched the Emergency Relief Fund using $30,000 raised through a partnership with corporate sponsors and a local private foundation, with the funds raised helping eligible individuals pay rent, utility bills and essential food and supply subsidies, among related expenses. The Emergency Fund will also help finance groceries, gift cards for clothing, travel and relocation expenses and similar essentials for those who can demonstrate emergency needs in these areas.
Second, one•n•ten shifted its focus from providing in-person support and assistance to enhancing and expanding these services online, helping ensure that everyone in need has the ability to access help while physical sites remain closed.
“If it weren’t for the financial support we received through our annual Fresh Brunch fundraiser and our generous donors, we wouldn’t have been able to pivot our focus so quickly in response to evolving developments,” Rhoton said. “We’re immensely grateful for all of the support we’ve received to date, but there’s still so much more to do.”
To qualify for assistance through one•n•ten’s Emergency Relief Fund applicants must be a current one•n•ten youth, experiencing COVID-19-related hardships such as job loss, reduced hours, homelessness, coronavirus-related health issues or an inability to purchase critical supplies. Applicants may need to produce documentation highlighting their need for assistance in the form of bills, eviction notices or similar documents.
One•n•ten is also calling on past and potential donors and volunteers to come together in support of the local LBGTQ community. Donors can contribute to the Emergency Relief Fund on one•n•ten’s website, and they can also sign up to become virtual volunteers under the direction of one•n•ten staff members and resource navigators.
For additional info on emergency assistance from one•n•ten’s Emergency Relief Fund, visit onenten.org. For more information on online programs, follow us on Instagram @onentenphx. To make a donation or learn more about one•n•ten and how to become a volunteer, visit onenten.org.