The United Health Foundation has pledged $ 5 million to support three organizations that help the homeless and those who are food insecure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the $ 5 million, $ 2.5 million will go to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council to support both the immediate need for homeless programs as well as longer-term expanded housing capacity.
Another $ 1.5 million is going to the Feeding America network of member food banks for COVID-19 response needs, such as purchasing additional food to meet sudden increases in demand, supporting new distribution approaches and responding to a sudden decline in volunteers.
And $ 1 million will go to Meals on Wheels America to support local programs serving vulnerable seniors.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The COVID-19 pandemic has strained health systems and exacerbated the needs of the homeless population.
Food banks have reported a 40% increase in the number of people seeking help, according to Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America.
Those living on the street can do little to shelter in place and, if crowded, homeless shelters can pose a coronavirus risk.
THE LARGER TREND
The United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group in 1999 as a not-for-profit private foundation dedicated to improving health and healthcare.
The foundation’s national partnerships with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America are part of UnitedHealth Group’s previously announced $ 50 million initial commitment to fight COVID-19 and support impacted populations, including healthcare workers, seniors and hard-hit communities.
UnitedHealth Group began an affordable housing initiative in 2011 by investing more than $ 400 million to build 80 affordable-housing communities in 18 states. More than 4,500 new homes have been created.
UnitedHealthcare has also formed strategic grant partnerships to support food banks and other local organizations to distribute more than 47 million meals since 2018.
ON THE RECORD
“The United Health Foundation’s generosity will further bolster our 30-year commitment to people experiencing homelessness and the professionals working at the nexus of health care and homelessness who serve them during this COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare for the homeless programs and medical respite care programs advance our mission to eliminate homelessness by ensuring comprehensive health care and secure housing for everyone,” said Bobby Watts, chief executive officer, National Health Care for the Homeless Council.
“People experiencing homelessness and food insecurity are among the most vulnerable populations and the COVID-19 emergency has only compounded the risks they face every day,” said Heather Cianfrocco, United Health Foundation board member and chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Community & State.
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