The Covid-19 public health emergency will be considered over by the end of this week. What does that mean? Essentially, the host of pandemic rules, services, and waivers that many at-risk individuals were able to benefit from will begin to phase out.
This means food assistance waivers, Medicare OTC reimbursement, free-standing emergency departments and much more will be affected. The ultimate end of these services is likely to have a negative impact on mental health and poverty rates throughout our most vulnerable communities. Many people who were already struggling to stay afloat found themselves in a more destitute situation due to job loss or health crises and those emergency services helped them to weather the financial and wellness storm that was Covid-19.
So, as we think about the official end of the pandemic, GBCA wants to call attention to the close relationship between wellness and poverty and work to address both issues. This means tackling the root causes of poverty, such as systemic inequity and lack of opportunity and resources. As an anti-poverty agency, GBCA is committed to ensuring that our communities have access to programs, services, and resources that allow individuals to pull themselves out of poverty into self-sufficiency.
Our network of programs includes free early childcare, young adult and adult education courses, immigration services, and even health access and equity through the construction Unity Health Partnership. The UHP is an unprecedented health and wellness campus, catered to the uninsured and underinsured, that will include mental and physical health services, a food pantry, and other resources for individuals and families in Garfield and its surrounding areas. It’s through these avenues of assistance that we will create healthier, more resilient communities for everyone.