Oregon strippers of color eligible for federal COVID-19 relief funds

Strippers of color in Oregon are eligible to receive federal COVID-19 relief funds thanks to a local sex workers advocacy group.

Nearly $600,000 was made available in a grant awarded to the organization Haymarket Pole Collective, with priority for black, indigenous and transgender applicants, The Oregonian reported.

The grant will supply 75 sex workers with up to $1,600 in rent assistance, $500 toward utilities and $150 for internet, the report said.

Two hundred others will be given a bag containing coronavirus protective gear, a COVID-test, gift cards and other medical supplies.

Haymarket Pole Collective is the brainchild of PDX Stripper Strike, which was founded earlier this year by Cat Hollis and other strippers seeking racial justice in the profession.

Sex work, like many industries during the pandemic, was ravaged with government-mandated closures of strip clubs.

To boot, sex workers turning to the internet to compensate for their in-person loses, have had to endure increased competition, Hollis told the newspaper.

“Not only has the industry been flooded with people looking for easy income, it had already shrunk in the number of spaces people can safely practice their work in,” Hollis said.

“I think [sex workers] are in a hard spot, not for lack of trying.”

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