Before the height of COVID-19, QTL was presented with an opportunity to purchase a 12-bedroom property in the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. This opportunity and QTL’s work is not coincidental. COVID-19 is unmasking a systemic disparity that the QTBIPOC community knows far too well; Seattle’s housing inequity impacts the health and safety of everyone, most of all those pushed to the margins of society. COVID-19 has exposed the interconnectedness of our health and safety, on a global scale, demonstrating the lack of adequate, sustainable, and accessible housing as a public health issue. “Many people have called the coronavirus a “great equalizer.” But while the virus might not discriminate, the impact on different communities is far from equal, (Coronavirus has hit Black people hard nationwide. Here in Washington? The data is lacking, Seattle Times 2020). In that same article, author Naomi Ishisaka reports that, “Black people and other people of color are more likely to be uninsured and less likely to have access to sick leave if they get ill. If they are sick, Black people are less likely to be given a coronavirus test to determine their care. While we are all instructed to “stay home and save lives,” people of color are more likely to be low-wage, essential frontline workers, such as service workers and health care workers, at higher risk of exposure.” And this is only a brief mention of the racial disparities that our community faces on top of insecure housing and discriminatory leasing and lending practices. Sexual and gender identity- in addition and in conjunction with race, are hardly accounted for when collecting statistics, so it will be hard to see the full impact of COVID-19 on the lives of QTBIPOC. African Americans and other People of Color are dying at exponentially high rates, In cities where the population of People of Color is small, the health outcomes are disproportionately worse than the majority; this is, in part, connected to housing. People of Color may live in spaces that prevent adequate social distancing, and as mentioned- there is a social expectation that People of Color contribute to the labor force and do not have the privilege of social distancing due to being “essential workers.”
Queer the Land has been advocating for accessible and affordable housing since 2016 and our message remains clear, consistent, and even more vital during these times. Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, deserve dignity, safety, a sense of belonging, and a place to call home. Fund the dream by donating what you can during this time of crisis and share this ask with your community across the globe, because whoever you are and wherever you are, you are connected to a QTBIPOC in your own community.
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Update: We have purchased our home and will be beginning construction in Spring. We are now collecting donations to fund the numerous work needed on the home and to maintain and hire additional support staff and consultants and contractors.