Funding and vaccinations top list of local human services sector in 2021
A recent survey conducted by HSC of over 40 human services providers in Hamilton County found that the availability of funding and vaccines for staff were top priorities for 2021. Without vaccines and adequate funding, providers will be unable to meet the elevated needs of residents resulting from the pandemic.
Funding is a top concern as residents continue to demonstrate increased needs. Observed impacts of the pandemic on residents include increased depression and anxiety, loss of employment, lack of stable housing and increased food insecurity. Providers say that what residents need most right now is safe and affordable housing, childcare, transportation, job or skills training, in-home support, access to technology and addiction treatment.
With increased community needs and reduced revenues, more than half of the organizations responding to the survey continue to experience moderate or more significant financial stress. PPP funding and nonprofit grants from Hamilton County helped many of our organizations weather the storm in 2020. However, several factors are continuing to contribute to organizations’ financial stress:
- Loss of fundraising dollars;
- Increased demand for goods and services;
- Reduced reimbursements due to residents not seeking help or reduced referrals for assistance.
Staff vaccinations are important because many workers are on the frontlines of the pandemic, providing such services as in-home care, food pantry operations, in-person mental health counseling and on-scene response to domestic violence. Almost 60% of organizations responding to the survey said that most of their staff have direct, close and sustained contact with residents. Infections of staff could lead to shortages in personnel who are available to provide essential services.