SPRINGFIELD – A federal grant of $ 795,000 administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development and awarded to Catholic Charities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield will help Mercy Medical Center expand its outreach to the homeless.
The diocesan social service agency is partnering with Mercy, part of Trinity Health Of New England, to enable Mercy, with $ 260,000 in the grant, to hire additional staff for her health care for those without. -shelter. program, including community health workers and a registered nurse, to specifically target people without access to shelter services and living on the streets.
Kathryn Buckley-Browner, executive director of the agency, said that Emergency Solutions To agree is “designed to provide shelter for chronically homeless and others who cannot access emergency shelter,” particularly during the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic.
“The funding that was made available through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the state addressed the overall need for preventative action with and on behalf of those at great risk,” Buckley said- Brawner on the exhibit. respiratory illness which can be fatal. “This limits the risk to the customer as well as to the public.”
Buckley-Brawner added, “Awareness is just one part of the grant.
“The $ 260,000 goes to pay the salaries of the Mercy outreach workers who will then refer the client to a homeless shelter or Catholic charities for a motel shelter, and to health care providers.” Buckley-Brawner said.
“The remainder of the grant will cover the cost of the hotel / motel placement, housing social workers’ salaries, stabilization services and supplies.”
In a statement, Mercy said her team will provide outreach services, such as assessment, intervention, referrals and education, to people who do not use group living situations, focusing on particularly in the communities of Springfield, Holyoke, Westfield and Chicopee. Basic primary care and behavioral health services will be provided.
The grant runs until June 2021 and will help at least 25 individuals or families with a hotel or motel, support services and case management.
“The placement in a hotel and motel provided by this grant will provide homeless people with shelter from unprotected contact with others, potentially limiting the spread of COVID-19,” said Cherelle Rozie, director of the community health and wellness for Mercy.
“However, if the infection is suspected or confirmed, it provides a place where clients can self-quarantine and receive essential services while being regularly monitored for worsening symptoms.”
She added that on an ongoing basis “these clients will benefit from health assessments, regular communication and assistance from a social worker, and access to general medical care.”
Collaborative work done by a number of Springfield-based healthcare organizations and other organizations this summer involving testing of the homeless has revealed low rates of infection, although there have been COVID-19 outbreaks in shelters elsewhere in the state.
Respiratory disease is easily spread when infected people are near other people not infected with the new SARS-CoV-2 virus for which there is no vaccine or approved medical treatment.
Preventive measures such as face masks, frequent hand washing and social distancing are the best ways to reduce individual risk to date.