SAN FRANCISCO - Children Of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere has extended its support of LGBT-headed families affected by Hurricane Katrina beyond New Orleans. The organization, which dispersed more than $15,000 in grants to Louisiana residents, is offering another $15,000 to those affected in Mississippi and Alabama as well.
"While many grant recipients lost everything, it is inspiring to see how strong the will to rebuild is among our families," said Beth Teper, executive director of COLAGE. "Clearly, additional help is needed, and we are seeking to broaden our support outside of the New Orleans area."
According to applications, one family lost the house they had shared for 11 years, along with all of their personal belongings, including their car and have been living in Arkansas since August 2005 awaiting a FEMA trailer. For others, finding employment has been the greatest challenge.
"It's not easy finding a job," wrote Embry's fathers William and Kelton. "We lost our livelihood as a result of the hurricane. Our house was severely damaged and insurance did not cover much."
In the wake of Katrina, COLAGE connected New Orleans families with other LGBT families across the country for temporary housing and other support. The New Orleans chapter also received a grant and has been providing free programming and activities for gay families since October 2005.
"COLAGE New Orleans has enriched our lives," said Shari and Mary, mothers of twins Evan and Ayden. "In the aftermath of Katrina, it brought many new supportive friendships to the lives of our children."
A new grant application is available to individual families at www.colage.org or by calling (415) 861-KIDS (5437).
A COLAGE committee will review all of the applications after the Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006 deadline. Grants of $500 each will be awarded to the first 30 eligible families to submit complete applications. Grants will be awarded on or before Katrina's one-year anniversary. [7/19/06]