Blue Cross Blue Shield awards six organizations $375,000 in grants to improve affordable housing
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI (BCBSRI) has awarded six organizations $375,000 in BlueAngel Community Health grant (BACHG) money to provide affordable housing
BCBSRI has partnered with Brown University School of Public Health to prepare the annual RI Life index, the guidelines for BCBSRI’s search for organizations. The Life index has shown affordable housing is a struggle in every RI community. The grants build on the previous grants that total up to $3 million since 2019.
“Imagine going about your day and not knowing if you had a place for you and your family to sleep at night. That’s the reality for far too many Rhode Islanders,” said Martha Wofford, BCBSRI president and CEO. “The pandemic has exacerbated this long-standing crisis. Without a safe, stable and affordable place to call home, people will continue to struggle, and their health will suffer. Blue Cross investments in housing are at the heart of our commitment to work with the community to achieve health equity for every person in the state.”
Since the start of BACHG in 2002, BCBSRI has donated $5 million to local organizations, effecting nearly 322,000 Rhode Islanders. This upcoming grant will have a focus on providing for non-profit program staff, who serve Rhode Islanders during a pandemic.
“The pandemic has been a marathon and the tireless leadership and support provided by Rhode Island nonprofits to people in need has come at great personal sacrifice,” said Wofford. “As a gesture of support, BCBSRI will award an additional $5,000 to each 2022 BlueAngel Community Health grantee to support employee well-being and resiliency during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.”
The following organizations will receive BACHG funding in 2022:
- Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) – Providence – DARE’s Tenant and Homeowner Association (THA) conducts door-to-door and other in-person outreach to low-moderate income tenants and homeowners living in Providence and Rhode Island’s communities of color, offering legal and support services to prevent evictions and displacement, ensure healthy housing conditions, and build community ownership and control of land and housing.
- Housing Network of Rhode Island – Pawtucket – The Housing Network of Rhode Island (HNRI) will add a dedicated community organizer to build the capacity of Homes RI, a multi-sector collaborative effort to increase the supply of safe, healthy, and affordable homes across Rhode Island.
- NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley – Woonsocket – NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley will deploy a full-time resident services coordinator to work one-on-one with 686 Woonsocket residents to guide them through their time in NeighborWorks housing and serve as a trusted ally to connect them with necessary resources.
- ONE Neighborhood Builders – Providence – ONE|NB will develop the Sanctuary at Valley Falls, a 42-unit affordable housing development in Cumberland. Twelve apartments in this development will be designated for nursing home diversion, providing older adults the opportunity to remain in their community. ONE|NB will convene public-sector partners, work with architects and designers, secure social service providers, and consult with prospective older adult residents to advance toward construction.
- Pawtucket Central Falls Development – Pawtucket – Decide Tu Futuro will expand PCF Development’s homeownership programming to increase Latinx homeownership and financial equity in Pawtucket and Central Falls. This pilot project will include financial education classes taught exclusively in Spanish that focus on equity, housing stability and financial fitness.
- Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness – Pawtucket – The Coalition will implement the state’s first social impact bond, Pay for Success (PFS); expand multisector health and housing partnerships through data mapping, environmental scans, and stakeholder interviews; and elevate needs and solutions to improve the health, safety and well-being of Rhode Islanders through policy, advocacy and direct capacity expansion in the system.
BACHG Funding is provided by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Community Health Fund maintained at the Rhode Island Foundation. For more information on BACHG visit the BCBSRI Website.