During the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits are forming partnerships for a greater impact on healthcare. By expanding the scope of services through strategically formed partnerships, organizations can address the multitude of complex issues impacting the health and well-being of vulnerable communities. This is true particularly when a community’s vulnerability, medical or otherwise, is intricately intertwined with access to housing and other resources—or lack thereof.

The nonprofit sector has seen firsthand how different populations are susceptible to the effects of Covid-19: For individuals who are homeless, the difficult circumstances brought about by Covid-19 are compounded with a living situation that doesn’t provide basic hygiene tools, such as soap and running water, to regularly wash hands.

Once Covid-19 infects an individual in a large unhoused population, the disease can spread rapidly, putting the entire community at risk, due to the proximity of the individuals to one another in a shelter or encampment. Chronic health conditions that homeless individuals face are often compounded by the inability to obtain critical preventive healthcare through a relationship with a primary care physician. Without the regular essential preventive services the relationship provides, many homeless individuals have limited options and are forced to turn to hospital emergency rooms and other expensive healthcare options, which are not an efficient or effective method of providing or receiving routine care.

Even before the pandemic, innovative nonprofit hospitals and large healthcare systems were exploring how they could better serve the health needs of their communities. The Affordable Care Act, which requires hospitals to complete a community needs assessment, incentivized nonprofit hospitals to develop more innovative options for providing critical health services for entire communities.

Read the full article about expanding nonprofit partnerships in health by Nahida Nisa at Blue Avocado.