Good News! Grant Awards for Energy Efficiency, Health Navigation, Housing
SEVCA Granted Major Award for Health Care Navigator Program
SEVCA was just awarded a 3-year grant for $97,704 from the Fannie Holt Ames & Edna Louise Holt Fund (BACCGF), Bank of America, N.A., Trustee to support health care access for low-income and vulnerable households in Windham and Windsor Counties.
The award will enable SEVCA to continue our existing successful Health Care Navigator program in the face of extremely limited government funding for this vital service, which currently helps over 400 area low-income households per year to access coverage. It also includes expansion of services to elderly and disabled households that require assistance with Medicaid Supplemental, Medicare Savings, VPharm, and disability insurance (SSDI) programs.
“This grant comes at exactly the right moment, as state funding has all but dried up for the Navigator program at the same time that efforts to eliminate or significantly reduce coverage for millions of households nationwide are moving forward in Congress,” said Steve Geller, SEVCA’s Executive Director. “Without advocates to assist them, the negative impacts of an increasingly challenging health insurance environment on lower-income households will be even worse, and hundreds of local families, seniors, and individuals could be left to fend for themselves as they try to maintain their coverage and obtain appropriate care and treatment. This grant means that, at least in Southeastern Vermont, vulnerable families will have someone on their side.”
SEVCA’s experienced Navigator, who has been helping residents with low incomes access health insurance for the past four years, will work diligently to help them obtain and maintain coverage wherever possible. And, if legislative changes begin to limit access to coverage, she will also collect and share information about what happens to some of these households in terms of cost increases, losing access to coverage, and the resulting impacts of no longer receiving adequate health care, in order to raise awareness about the need for affordable universal health insurance.
SEVCA also received a small grant of $8,300 from Vermont Health Connect (representing a steep cut from the $45,000 grant awarded last year), which will also support the Navigator program.
New Grant from Efficiency Vermont Helps Achieve Energy Savings
Efficiency Vermont awarded SEVCA an 8-month grant of $ 27,090 to introduce energy-efficient technology and practices to area households with low incomes.
SEVCA’s Emergency Home Repair (EHR) Coordinator will conduct free home visits and provide education on how to maximize cost savings through additional energy-efficient practices, products, and resources; install/provide various energy-efficient devices; and recommend further energy-efficiency improvements (such as Weatherization). On-site interventions during the home visit include direct installation of efficient products such as LED bulbs, advanced power strips, low-flow showerheads, pipe wrap, and caulking, all at no cost to the resident.
Two Grant Awards to Help Homeless and At-risk Households Renewed
The Housing Opportunity Program (HOP), administered by the Vermont Office of Economic Opportunity, recently awarded $225,800 to fund SEVCA’s homelessness prevention and re-housing efforts. The award provides $152,683 for services in the Brattleboro-area Agency of Human Services (AHS) District, $45,667 in the Hartford (Upper Valley) AHS District, and $27,453 in the Springfield AHS District. The award is renewable for one year, subject to funding availability, for a total possible award of $451,600 over two years. It will enable SEVCA’ Family Services program to continue to provide housing assistance and case management services to at-risk and homeless families throughout our Windham and Windsor County service area.
The HOP application included a request for continuation of the General Assistance (GA) Alternatives Pilot Program, which, in the past year, funded a part-time case manager to work directly with homeless families and individuals sheltered in motels in the Brattleboro area. The goal was to shorten their motel stay by supporting them to locate a more permanent housing solution as soon as possible. SEVCA had also requested to take over a project that had been initially funded through Groundworks Collaborative, in which apartments were master-leased to provide temporary emergency housing. Funding for the GA Alternatives grant came from GA program funds and was evaluated through a separate process; unfortunately, due to anticipated program cuts, only 3 months of funding was provided to continue the part-time case manager, and no funding was provided to lease the emergency apartments. The state is currently in the process of assessing whether it will be able to extend the funding beyond that initial period.
Granite United Way also recently announced their grant awards, which included an $18,000 grant to SEVCA’s Family Services department to provide fuel and housing assistance to Windsor County households in crisis. The award was slightly less than the $20,000 awarded last year. GUW funding enables SEVCA to help households that might not meet the strict state program eligibility criteria for the HOP or Crisis Fuel programs, and is essential to meeting the needs of vulnerable Windsor County households.