This blog post is part of our series of COVID-19 reflections and updates from our CEO Kathleen Noonan. Read the rest of this series here.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the challenges that vulnerable individuals face every day. As if navigating multiple service and payment systems to access and maintain benefits and necessary supports like food and housing were not difficult enough, a rapidly-changing access and service environment coupled with a statewide Stay At Home order has made the gap even wider.
At the Camden Coalition, we haven’t stopped supporting our patients, partners, and community. In fact, we’re finding new ways to meet their needs. Most recently, we are proud to be a partner in the COVID-19 testing site in the City of Camden alongside the Camden County Department of Health, Cooper University Healthcare, Virtua Health, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, and CAMcare Health Corporation. The Coalition’s particular role is ensuring that anyone that receives a COVID-19 test is screened for the social support they might need especially, if they are required to self-isolate.
We know that this pandemic is having an impact on more than just the health of our communities. People are in need of food and basic supplies, transportation to and from appointments, support to cover utilities, and access to safe housing where they can effectively manage their health. As eligibility requirements for programs change, social services shift their delivery models, and people face loss of income and social isolation, we are expanding our screening for possible social determinants challenges to include all individuals tested for COVID-19 at the Camden City testing site. Our navigators are calling individuals to check in, identify and help address unmet needs. We have also set up a hotline which can be used by anyone who needs some navigation assistance and/or extra support during this pandemic.
To be certain that we have the most up-to-date information about services in our region, Camden Coalition staff are regularly calling social service providers, behavioral health organizations, hospitals, and primary care offices to get details about changes to operations. We are publishing that information daily on our website.
No one should lack access to support and resources during this crisis. While COVID-19 is hard for many of us, we know that its impact is most profound on vulnerable communities where access to food, transportation, affordable housing, and economic opportunity were already limited. We are doing everything that we can to be an informed and supportive partner to those who need help during this unprecedented situation. We will continue to share what we are doing and learning as we adapt our own work to our community’s needs.
You can read more about the Camden Coalition’s response to COVID-19 here.