Rapid Response Grantee Uses Funds to Support Emergency Homelessness Services
On March 23, RIZE Massachusetts Foundation announced that it had distributed nearly $200,000 in rapid response grants to support nonprofit organizations strained by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding went to 25 existing community partners to help them maintain or adapt their services during this crisis.
Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), one of RIZE’s original six community partners, used its grant to support its herculean efforts to protect and care for people experiencing homelessness impacted by COVID-19. This population, one that has already seen some of the worst effects of the opioid epidemic, is particularly vulnerable due to the prevalence of pre-existing conditions and living conditions that put them in close contact with others and often with limited access to sanitary needs like handwashing.
“We are extremely proud of the quick actions of Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program to go above and beyond in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and continue providing critical programs,” said Julie Burns, president and CEO, RIZE Massachusetts Foundation. “BHCHP’s work with the city of Boston and many other nonprofits exemplifies the programs that RIZE supports and relies on to serve people experiencing opioid use disorder.”
With the help of a RIZE rapid response grant, and the support of the city of Boston, Suffolk Construction, and other community stakeholders, BHCHP built tents to house facilities for screening, testing, and isolating people that may have come in contact with COVID-19. The MASH-style compound, built next to an existing shelter, is fully equipped with electricity, bathrooms, showers, heat and medical supplies. It is staffed by medical professionals from BHCHP.
“BHCHP is one of many partners that we wanted to support during this time of crisis,” said Dr. Sarah E. Wakeman, RIZE Chief Medical Officer. “Partners are on the front line ensuring that people with OUD are getting the care they need during this crisis.”
All 25 RIZE rapid response grant recipients are using funds to support operational needs that may include significant changes to address the health and well-being of patients and clients during the Covid-19 pandemic. To see the full list of recipients, read the grant announcement here.