We are a collective of United States-based grassroots human rights activists who are working to help trans and other LGBTQ+ People who have been released from Rikers Island jail in the wake of COVID-19. Many of these people do not have anywhere to go and the jail is not providing any assistance in finding housing or services desperately needed by recently released incarcerated LGBTQ+ people.
New York is on lockdown due to the spread of COVID-19 which has put tremendous pressure on shelters in the city. This has left few resources available for unhoused members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially for folks being released from the prison system, who now have no place to go. These community members are our chosen family and we are excited to be able to offer them assistance and services they cannot get anywhere else.
Ceyenne Doroshow from G.L.I.T.S. (Gays and Lesbians Living in a Transgender Society) is currently receiving phone calls from several trans people being released from Rikers who are looking for both temporary and long-term housing. We need to raise $50,000 as soon as possible to start securing hotel rooms and food resources as people are released so that we can get them into a stable housing situation and away from the danger of COVID-19 as the city reckons with the crisis.
ALL funds will go directly to logistical costs of making this happen and to helping these folks settle safely after being released. We are already providing community housing for 5 trans folks released week of 3/29 - and as recent as 4/7 - and we have provided hotel rooms for people who haven't been able to access testing since being released. We are also providing food delivery, clothing items, gender-affirming hygiene kits and access to medical and mental healthcare through our partnerships with Mount Sinai.
Everyone we are helping is able to do their laundry, have access to showers and harm reduction materials and plenty of healthy food. As soon as NYC starts to see a flattening of the curve of COVID-19 infections, we will be able to access healthcare using tele-med services that will help them gain access to medical services they have been without since their incarceration.
Each individual receives a smart phone so they can contact their friends and family and let them know they are safe. Once the crisis starts to subside, we will provide Lyft and Uber credits so they can start to regain control of their own lives. We are offering online GED training and tutoring when available. Being able to be free while waiting for upcoming court appearances makes a huge difference in helping them advocate for their own needs.
The funds will be made available to Ceyenne with the help of Alex Andrews, who is assisting G.L.I.T.S. via fiscal sponsorship, to directly pay for housing and services. Our long partnership with our community members in New York and beyond is rooted in trust and accountability. We will go to any length to make sure our beloved community members are cared for and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Now is the time to act in solidarity with our trans siblings. We keep us safe. Please donate what you can today!