State Launches Grant Program to Help Stop COVID-19 Spread in Communities of Color

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced a new grant program to help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities of color. Open to applicants until Oct. 14, the $650,000 grant program is available to faith-based organizations and community groups serving black, Latinx, and other people of color in cities and towns hardest hit by COVID-19.

COVID-19 data indicate that infection and death rates are disproportionately high among black and Latinx populations and other communities of color. Due to under-investment and historical lack of opportunity, communities of color suffer the long-term health consequences of systemic racism and also experience disproportionate impacts related to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Community Grant Program is designed to support community-based and faith-based organizations in raising awareness around best practices families and individuals can take to be safe and stop the spread. This includes messaging about ensuring physical distancing, mask wearing, and other risk-reduction practices.

The program is administered by Health Resources in Action (HRiA), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Grants are expected to be in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 per organization for a funding period of November 2020 through February 2021.

Eligible groups include Massachusetts-based community and faith-based organizations serving people of color. Groups need to have a particular emphasis on support for populations who have mental-health and substance-use disorders, are experiencing homelessness and housing instability, have disabilities, and/or have limited English proficiency for eligibility. A full list of emphasis areas and eligible cities and towns can be found at www.hria.org/macovidcommunitygrants.

HRiA is a nonprofit public-health organization with a mission to help people live healthier lives and create healthy communities through prevention, health promotion, policy, and research.

Funding recipients will coordinate with the COVID-19 Enforcement and Intervention Team (CEIT), a component of the Commonwealth’s Command Center, to develop training materials, share best practices, and create messaging. CEIT launched on Sept. 3 and works collaboratively with communities across the Commonwealth with persistently high COVID-19 incidence rates as part of a coordinated effort to stop the spread.

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