LinkedIn Post: Funding Short-Term Relief and Long-Term Recovery during the COVID-19 Health Crisis

Walter D. Woods, CEO of The Humana Foundation, recently shared this post on LinkedIn.

 

Coronavirus continues to challenge us, and it continues to give us new opportunities to rally together around a shared cause – sending help to the people and communities most strongly feeling its effects.

To support COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts on a community level, The Humana Foundation recently announced we will deploy $50 million in short- and long-term funding. We are partnering with dozens of organizations at the frontlines of the pandemic, offering assistance to help essential workers, improve food security, extend behavioral health services and support community-based organizations.

It is our hope that this commitment will allow communities to address immediate needs related to the COVID-19 health crisis, and that our funding will serve as a long-term catalyst in building capabilities, community resiliency and sustainable successes.

Before the pandemic, approximately 37 million people struggled with food security issues, particularly older Americans. Prior to social distancing measures, 22 percent of American adults reported feeling alone or isolated from others. COVID-19 magnifies these existing needs, making it harder for many to source food and intensifying the negative impact of loneliness on overall health.

Take this as an example. In Louisville, Ky., the Strothers School Apartments are a historic landmark converted to affordable housing serving seniors and low income disabled people. In early April amid the COVID-19 crisis, a resident was caught in gun crossfire and shot. When police and media entered the scene, people living in the complex expressed an immediate need – food. COVID-19 made the complex an island without visitors or accessible transportation, growing more isolated and fragile by the day.  Louisville Urban League, one of The Humana Foundation’s partners for COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts, stepped in and took immediate action. Wearing masks and gloves, the staff delivered two carloads of groceries and returned many more times to ensure no one is hungry.

Meanwhile, essential workers continue their much-needed work, knowing doing so could put their health on the line. Personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages continue to challenge essential workers, yet their struggles go deeper. There are more than 3 million home health and personal care aides in our country, the majority of whom are women and more than half of whom are people of color. These people care for the elderly and disabled in their homes and in community settings, dealing with staffing shortages due to quarantined coworkers, personal financial challenges stemming from what are often low-wage jobs, and exhaustion.

Humana Foundation funding will support health and personal care aides with cash assistance thanks to our partnership with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Those working in public transportation, childcare, grocery store operations, manufacturing plans and homeless shelters will also receive support including programs designed to develop workforce skills and enhance long-term job prospects. We are proud to offer assistance to those who help us all stay safe and who are so important when it comes to making sure everyone has access to holistic healthcare.

The Humana Foundation is committed to long-term COVID-19 recovery efforts. We will continue to help communities build resiliency and individuals learn valuable new skills to ensure sustainable positive outcomes.

Our partnership with Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) illustrates this long-term COVID-19 recovery work. According to the most recent U.S. Census American Communities Survey, only 67 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have broadband internet at home, compared to 86 percent for the rest of the U.S. The Foundation’s partnership with OATS will fund a national initiative to close this connectivity gap for seniors, enabling more positive health outcomes. By teaching seniors to use technology and access high-speed Internet at home, OATS helps people combat loneliness by connecting with others online. In addition, this work will allow seniors to understand and access digital health services and telemedicine, improving the quality of healthcare they receive.

As our communities recover and rebuild, I look forward to continuing The Humana Foundation’s work with our partners to create greater health equity and more healthy days for all.

CategoriesBold GoalDisaster ReliefEducation and early Childhood DevelopmentFinancial Asset SecurityHealthcare ServicesLouisvilleNutrition and Food SecurityPost-Secondary Attainment/Sustaining EmploymentSocial Connectedness
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