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READING, Pa.: In response to the increasing economic crisis and social risk faced by the LGBTQIA+ population, the LGBT Center of Greater Reading announced the establishment of the Rainbow Relief Fund, an emergency resource to aid those in critical and urgent need.

“LGBT youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness, and we have witnessed the need for a fund like this first-hand,” said Michelle Dech, Executive Director. “Our professional training, support programs, events, and advocacy are mainstays of the Reading and Berks County community. When we looked at what our community still needs, we identified an opportunity to affect change and make an instant impact. Our Rainbow Relief Fund will do just that.”

The emergency fund will be used to aid those in immediate need. Funds will help cover or defray the costs of food, gas, temporary shelter, or transportation. An LGBT Center donor is matching contributions up to $2,000 to kickstart the fund. Applications are available on the LGBT Center website, via email request to, or by stopping in to the center. Applicants must identify as LGBT+ or be the parent or legal guardian of an LGBT+-identifying youth.

“While COVID-19 highlighted the issue for a critical relief fund, the truth is that our community experiences these issues at an alarming rate,” said Tim Gruesel, president of the board of directors. “Personal crisis situations can escalate quickly. We know we can help fill this urgent need in Berks County.”

Those wishing to donate can visit the LGBT Center’s website at, by calling (610) 864-5800, or by mailing a check to 1501 N 13th St, Reading, PA 19604. To earmark donations for the Rainbow Relief Fund, write “Rainbow Relief Fund” in the memo line or notes section of your submission.

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