LOUISVILLE, Ky. and TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Families and individuals struggling with homelessness are often unable to prioritize their health or obtain needed preventive care such as health screenings, vaccinations or manage chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma. To address this issue, WellCare of Kentucky, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), has awarded $8,500 in "micro-grants" to support six organizations working to address the needs of homeless Kentuckians.
WellCare's micro-grant program is one facet of its commitment to building partnerships with community-based organizations that offer support in meeting basic social needs. These are small grants of up to $1,500 each that help communities find their own solutions to challenges that affect the health of individuals and families.
In Kentucky, these micro-grants aim to help homeless Kentuckians find their way back to stable living environments, and thus, more healthy lives. For example, one micro-grant will help pay for bus tokens and provide transportation for homeless women in Henderson County. Many women who will benefit from these grants are struggling to put their lives back together after leaving an abusive relationship, recovering from substance abuse or managing other significant life setbacks. Reliable transportation will enable them to attend interviews, find housing or go to medical appointments.
Another grant is aimed at the rapidly growing population of homeless seniors in Fayette and Jessamine counties. This program will connect seniors to area housing options they may not otherwise have known they qualify for.
This year's micro-grants related to homelessness include:
- The Coalition for the Homeless in Jefferson County – A $1,500 micro-grant will support the hiring of a housing specialist who will help connect homeless individuals with housing vouchers to available housing.
- Mountain Comprehensive Care Center in Morgan County – A $1,500 micro-grant will support efforts to help homeless individuals get needed documents, such as birth certificates and photo ID cards, which are often needed for job interviews and housing applications.
- Bluegrass Area Agency on Living and Independent Living in Fayette and Jessamine Counties – A $1,000 micro-grant will assist homeless seniors by educating them on available resources to assist with housing or other needs.
- Pathways Inc. in Boyd and Rowan Counties – A $1,500 micro-grant will support teens and young adults with behavioral health challenges by providing basic clothing and other needs standing in the way of employment or educational goals.
- Paducah Cooperative Ministry in McCracken County – A $1,500 micro-grant will help furnish a children's playroom where homeless children can play while parents can learn helpful parenting technique.
- The Father Bradley Shelter in McCracken County – A $1,500 micro-grant will support the purchase of 1,000 bus tokens for homeless women and the hiring of a caseworker, who will work with homeless women to help them access services as they work toward self-sufficiency.
"These grants give community-based groups the boost they need to try new things, take promising programs to the next level, and help individuals lead healthier lives," said Bill Jones, president of WellCare of Kentucky. "Often, it's something simple that is keeping someone who is homeless from getting a job or qualifying for housing – not being able to get to a job interview, not having appropriate clothes for an interview, not having an address where they can get a copy of their Social Security card mailed. These problems can be solved by caring organizations at the community-level with just a little support."
"WellCare's micro-grant will provide the Coalition for the Homeless with critical matching funds to hire a housing specialist who will assist 75 homeless people in 2017 as they move out of a shelter or off the streets and into safe, stable housing," said Catherine McGeeney, director of development, Coalition for the Homeless.
"Paducah Cooperative Ministry is delighted and grateful to receive a $1,500 micro-grant from WellCare," said Heidi Suhrheinrich, executive director, Paducah Cooperative Ministries. "These funds will be used to help furnish the new 'WINGS' children's room at our Fresh Start Village homeless shelter. The WINGS program is designed to reduce the negative impact of homelessness on youngsters by helping parents build stronger bonds with their children in addition to learning positive parenting techniques."
As of Sept. 30, 2016, WellCare serves approximately 440,000 Medicaid members, 8,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 20,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Kentucky. To learn more about how WellCare cares for Kentuckians, watch Brandi Logan's member story at http://youtu.be/YwOw5EgeSYo.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of Sept. 30, 2016. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
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SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.