The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) has committed an additional $3 million in funding to support COVID-19 response and relief efforts throughout New York State, bringing its total investment to $5 million.
“As the magnitude of the pandemic became clearer, the Foundation wanted to do more for the New Yorkers hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Ellen Rautenberg, Chair of NYSHealth’s Board of Directors.
NYSHealth’s grants will support services and programs to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers: addressing mental health needs among military veterans, older adults, and health care workers; expanding food assistance in communities from Brownsville, Brooklyn to Rochester to the North Country; and providing case management, housing, and other services for formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. The Foundation will also work to address certain statewide needs; for example, a grant to the New York State Association of County Health Officers (NYSACHO) will provide additional resources to local public health departments, which provide critical services like public health messaging, surveillance, testing, and contact tracing.
Newly approved grants below (see the full list ):
· combats social isolation and mental health issues among veterans. It is working with New York City’s Mission: VetCheck program to provide “buddy checks” and connect veterans to vital services. It will expand these efforts across the metro New York City region.
· Settlement houses provide an array of services, including housing, food, mental health, and social supports for older adult New Yorkers. , , and (founded in the tradition of settlement houses) are quickly moving to virtual and telephone operations to continue case management, wellness checks, nursing triage, and the remote preparation of medical advance directives, as well as providing necessary in-person deliveries of meals, medications, and other supplies.
· in Rochester—one of New York State’s largest and most innovative food banks—will work with the to get high-quality, fresh produce to residents in need. Its curbside market also enables residents to use WIC, SNAP, and other incentive programs to purchase fresh food.
· in the North Country has created and distributed emergency food packages that contain one week’s worth of healthy meals. The food is purchased from local farms and delivered using paid local labor, including furloughed food industry workers. AdkAction will serve more families by transitioning its meal distribution to a mobile market that accepts SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, and other incentives.
· will rapidly expand an existing peer support network in Central New York that combats distress and burnout among clinicians. Given the unprecedented stress associated with COVID-19, Bassett will accelerate the program’s statewide spread and train an additional 200 physician peer supporters. The Medical Society of the State of New York will then assume further operation of the program statewide.
· (CASES) will expand and sustain primary care and behavioral health telehealth services for criminal justice-involved youth and adults with mental illness at its East Harlem clinic, including individuals recently released as a result of the pandemic. Services will motivate engagement among justice-involved Black and Latinx males.
“The communities that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 will require even more support and attention on the road to recovery,” said David Sandman, Ph.D., President and CEO of NYSHealth. “It’s critical that we do what we can to support our neighbors in need.”
This newly authorized $3 million in grants complements the Foundation’s investment in COVID-19 relief and response efforts, which included contributions to numerous regional response funds, as well as support for statewide and local efforts to address emerging health care and public health needs.
The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private, statewide foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Today, NYSHealth concentrates its work in two strategic priority areas: building healthy communities and empowering health care consumers. The Foundation is committed to making grants, informing health policy and practice, spreading effective programs to improve the health care system and the health of New Yorkers, serving as a convener of health leaders across the State, and providing technical assistance to its grantees and partners.