The Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services (OHS) has announced that the City has been awarded more than $500,000 for winter shelter needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Philadelphia.
The grant, for $535,830, comes under a new state program called “ESG-CV Code Blue.” Grantees were determined by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) based on submissions from a statewide competition.
The Philadelphia funds will expand COVID-safe shelter space for people coming in directly from the street. This will mean additional low-barrier housing, particularly for couples, individuals with disabilities, older adults, and people with chronic underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID. The grant will also fund hazard pay for homeless outreach workers who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic.
“The work that our network of homeless service providers do is literally life-saving. These funds make it possible for more people to be sheltered in COVID-safe settings while they work on long-term housing plans. It allows us to put our most vulnerable neighbors – and some of the frontline workers who engage them – first during this very difficult time,” said Liz Hersh, Director of OHS.
Along with serving thousands of Philadelphians every year in short- and long-term housing programs, OHS’s Winter Initiative typically adds 300 slots each November through March.
“With the rate of COVID cases surging, temperatures dropping, and federal aid ending, we could find ourselves facing a perfect storm in which we can’t help those in need. These funds provide a lifeline, just in time,” Hersh said.
OHS will administer the $535,830 grant to the following local organizations:
- City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) for various contracted agencies for Homeless Street Outreach Hazard Pay
- Project HOME, Sacred Heart and Saint Columba for Temporary Emergency Shelter
- Resources for Human Development for Temporary Emergency Shelter.