Grants Increase Access to Housing for At-Risk Ohioans During the Pandemic
(DAYTON, OH – January 19, 2021) Dayton-based healthcare plan CareSource announced a $1 million grant Tuesday to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio to redistribute the funding to dozens of local agencies that are battling the dual crises of COVID-19 and homelessness this winter.
CareSource announced the award to support community organizations that are struggling to continue providing shelter and housing services due to increased need stemming from the economic recession. COHHIO will regrant the money to help local homeless agencies, housing providers, and domestic violence shelters obtain critical supplies and cover increased costs associated with the pandemic.
Steve Ringel, CareSource Ohio Market President, said the award reflects the company’s commitment to addressing housing insecurity – one of the primary factors that increase individuals’ vulnerability to COVID-19.
“Ohio is fortunate to have a large network of tireless, dedicated housing assistance providers across the state,” Ringel said. “From homeless prevention services to emergency shelters and supportive housing, these community champions have provided shelter and kept people safe during the pandemic. This winter, agencies face an increasing need for services and outreach, intensified cleaning protocols and new staffing challenges. CareSource is proud to partner with COHHIO to provide support for shelters to continue serving the most vulnerable Ohioans.”
COHHIO Executive Director Bill Faith said the organization will prioritize efforts to quickly get unhoused Ohioans into safe living quarters to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among an extremely vulnerable population and the broader community.
“Our partnership with CareSource highlights the fact that housing is healthcare, especially now when everyone needs a safe place to call home to weather this public health crisis and economic recession,” Faith said. “We greatly appreciate CareSource’s support for Ohioans who find themselves in dire straits due to the fact that they can’t afford a place to live during this pandemic winter.”
Faith said homelessness is increasing in many communities throughout Ohio due to the fact that layoffs have disproportionately affected low-wage workers who were already struggling to pay the rent. At the same time, shelters have had to reduce their capacity in order to implement social distancing protocols, leading to more Ohioans living in cars, parks, campgrounds and other temporary places that are not fit for human habitation.
COHHIO plans to distribute CareSource’s funds to help local shelter programs obtain masks, gloves, sanitization supplies, cleaning services, and staffing they need to continue operating safely. Funding can also be used to pay for hotel rooms for at-risk populations, day shelter and warming stations, and outreach workers.
Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to ending homelessness and promoting decent, safe, fair, affordable housing for all, with a focus on assisting low-income and special needs populations. In addition to public policy advocacy, research and public education, COHHIO provides training and technical assistance to local provider agencies and nonprofit service organizations.