April 20, 2020
The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF) today announced grants to the state’s four Regional Health Hubs and to Catholic Charities in Newark to provide testing, care, and opportunities for self-quarantine to some of New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, the homeless, and those seeking treatment for substance abuse disorder.
NJPRF also announced new food security grants to 18 food pantries, adding to the 108 food security grants awarded to pantries last week.
The non-profit NJPRF was launched on March 24 to marshal resources to meet critical needs and fight the medical, economic and social impact of COVID-19 within New Jersey.
“Providing healthcare support for the state’s most vulnerable populations is among the most pressing challenges our state faces during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Tammy Murphy, First Lady of New Jersey and founder of NJPRF. “These communities are vulnerable in various and specific ways. To be most impactful, our response must honor that diversity of need and reflect it.”
NJPRF engages a broad base of stakeholders and advisors to identify organizations able to quickly provide desperately sought-after resources and aid. Grants reflect both the aid and resources needed as well as the logistical difficulties of getting those resources to the people who need them most. Murphy does not have a role in the selection of grant recipients.
The state legislature established the Health Hubs to coordinate community health services in their regions. NJPRF is awarding grants to each of the Regional Health Hubs to ensure that the resources are available to all New Jersey residents, regardless of where they live.
A separate grant will enable a collaborative project between the City of Newark’s Health Department and Catholic Charities to rapidly establish telemedicine units in two new temporary homeless shelters in Newark. The pilot program will enable individuals in isolation there to receive medical support while helping to slow the spread of the virus.
Camden Coalition, Trenton Health Team, Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, and the Health Coalition of Passaic County are working with their local community partners on the frontlines of
the COVID-19 response. The Health Hub grants will support projects tailored to the testing, healthcare and “stop-the-spread” needs of those communities.
• The Camden Coalition will (1) provide support for the Camden testing site— ensuring the 100+ individuals tested daily are navigated to needed social services — from providing transportation to the site to ensure that food insecurity, housing and mental health needs are addressed; (2) leverage its Health Information Exchange platform to allow multiple service providers to track results and patients, and (3) provide telemedicine support to homeless shelters.
• The Health Coalition of Passaic County will (1) support the establishment of walk-up testing sites for those without cars; (2) support telemedicine for uninsured community members; and (3) provide quarantine space for partners serving vulnerable populations at Straight and Narrow and Eva’s Village.
• The Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition will (1) address the needs of pregnant women in Newark, creating Mom Kits that would include blood pressure cuffs so women could track their blood pressure in conjunction with telemedicine appointments and thermometers so women can track their temperature and track for potential COVID-19 symptoms; and (2) establish a virtual platform to provide postpartum and lactation support for new moms.
• The Trenton Health Team will (1) support the Mercer County Testing site, including the establishment of a mobile testing unit for those without cars; and (2) provide technical support to community-based organizations rolling out telehealth programs in conjunction with the Henry J. Austin Health Center.
“We are extremely grateful for the thousands of donors, great and small, whose generosity has made these first healthcare grants possible,” said NJPRF CEO Josh Weinreich. “We recognize the clinical needs of the state, for PPE and ventilators, for example, are pressing and essential. But in many cases these resources are simply not available at any price.”
“Recognizing that the vast majority of COVID-19 patients are not hospitalized,” Weinreich said, “our intent with these grants is to enable organizations to provide essential health services in ways that slow the spread of the disease through their communities.”
In addition to these healthcare grants, NJPRF has awarded an additional 18 food security grants to food pantries across the state. This phase of food security grants supplements food security grants to 108 pantries announced last week. The grants range from $5,000 to $25,000. The list of current food security grant awardees is below.