More than 3 dozen groups nominated for city’s health equity partners
George Copeland Jr. | 6/30/2022, 6 p.m.
The City of Richmond’s latest COVID-19 relief effort is underway, with three local groups working to help neighborhoods that face the biggest health disparities as part of the city’s new Health Equity Fund.
According to the Richmond and Henrico Health District, which is helping to manage the HEF, 51 community-based groups and organizations have so far been nominated as part of the next wave of potential partners. The number of nominations received within a week of the process opening to the public speaks to the interest in the HEF and its potential to resolve long-standing health inequities in Richmond.
“It’s really exciting for us to see this process come to life and to see nominations roll in,” said RHHD food access specialist Hannah Quigley last Friday. “We’ve tried to be intentional in creating a simple funding process that centers racial equity and community voices in every step of the process.”
Richmond has committed an initial $5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to address the medical obstacles faced by marginalized communities through HEF, the first of its kind in Virginia. As detailed by RHHD, nominees looking for HEF investments are expected “to engage in new projects or expand existing projects to better promote health equity and racial justice and address health disparities in Richmond.”
If selected, HEF recipients will review COVID-19 disparities such as mental health, substance use and recovery, maternal child health, food access and security and health care access.
So far $230,000 has been invested in three local organizations as part of the initiative’s first steps. They are Crossover Healthcare Ministry, Nolef Turns and the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority.
“This is the kind of investment we must make to establish health equity for our most vulnerable communities,” said Mayor Levar M. Stoney several weeks ago when the first HEF partners were announced. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s been long overdue. I’m glad that we are involved and engaged, and there’s much more to come.”
According to RHHD, the initial round of funding distributed $50,000 to Crossover Healthcare Ministry to provide bilingual medical assistance and increase its capacity when it comes to testing, vaccinations, and educating patients and the community at large.
Nolef Turns was granted $90,000 to provide crisis and transitional shelter assistance to Richmond residents exiting incarceration who have a history of or an increased likelihood of substance abuse. Assistance will range from harm reduction and social services support, to rental aid and case management.
Finally, $90,000 was allocated to the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority for a full-time clinician to ensure they can provide their mental health services in RHHD Resource Centers in the city’s public housing and lower-income communities.
The current nomination process continues through July 28.
To submit a local group or project for consideration, visit http://rhhd.gov/hef.