In August, Hamilton County launched a $5.5 million grant program using federal CARES Act money to help local human services organizations continue providing services amid the coronavirus pandemic. The funding will help organizations respond to increased demand, invest in technology to provide remote services, and add plexiglass barriers to boost on-site services.
A recent HSC survey conducted between July 20 – 30 showed that about 85% of organizations that responded reported reducing or suspending services to some degree, with 9% suspending all services. The reasons for service reduction include lack of technology, increased demand for services, and lack of funding.
Lack of supports and services is having a tremendous impact upon the most vulnerable in our community. Some of the observations made by HSC members include:
- Seniors in nursing homes have experienced significant weight loss and reduced cognitive abilities due to the closing of dining halls and social isolation.
- Families are stressed from taking on additional responsibilities to care for loved ones due to the closing of adult day care centers serving seniors and people with disabilities.
- Many families and individuals lack access to technology and cannot participate in education or employment services virtually.
- Children and teens with mental health issues are not participating as much in treatment and activities. Some are unable to attend in-person sessions due to discontinuation of transportation services. Fewer referrals were made with the closure of schools last spring.
“The County non-profit assistance program will have a huge impact in providing the means by which organizations can deliver services safely during this pandemic,” said Gina Marsh, HSC Executive Director.
As of October 8, 67 organizations have qualified for just under $5M in assistance funding.