EXCERPT FROM ARTICLE BY SUSAN KIRBY-SMITH
As infrastructures stalled or failed, it became clear that communities served by UNCG centers were in the middle of Guilford County’s COVID-19 “hot spots.” Directors and their staff had to move quickly, in ways outside of their usual “accompaniment model” of service.
In collaboration with Dr. Stephen Sills, director of the UNCG Center for Housing and Community Studies, Abdo secured several grants. But they weren’t the typical grants, which might go toward case management and research. Instead, they were for helping clients meet their most basic needs: housing, food, and health services.
With support from the United Way’s Virus Relief Fund, Guilford County, and the North Carolina Healthcare Association, their two centers – known as the CNNC and CHCS – have been able to offer food assistance, rent support, cleaning supplies, masks, hand sanitizer, and school supplies to more than 100 families. They’ve also provided educational materials, employment services, public health services, and interpretation services….
Public health graduate student Tiarra Brown works the CHCS Cottage Gardens Resource Center, located in an apartment complex in east Greensboro.
While the in-person program is on hold, Brown is doing food drop-offs and has organized virtual tutoring, in addition to coordinating the provision of educational supplies, food gift cards, and rental assistance checks provided by grants.
“It’s frustrating not being able to do in-person programming,” she says, “but I am incredibly proud to be a part of CHCS and the Greensboro community right now. We noticed a need, especially during the pandemic, and came up with ways to address it in a very a short amount of time.”
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