Letter from the Executive Director

Coming Together to Fight Coronavirus

I’m going to tell you a story, and I’m going to ask for your help.

I’m going to ask for your help first. As we speak, the federal government is preparing a range of stimuli–the first of many to follow–to help our country navigate the coronavirus and all its ripple effects that will be far more disruptive than ripples. The enormity of this challenge for our health and social services agencies, their employees, and most importantly, their clients–is extraordinary. Our federal government must ensure its stimuli specifically fund nonprofits and the programs they administer to help us all through this unprecedented time. 

That’s where you come in.

We need your help to ensure health and human services agencies are not left out of stimulus efforts. For example, funds specifically targeting homelessness are not included in any of the stimulus packages as of this writing. That includes the White House’s $850 billion proposal; it features a $50 billion handout for airlines, which had billions in profit last year alone, but nothing for people experiencing homelessness, who did not.

We can do better.

So please join us in contacting your representatives and senators, asking for robust stimulus for the breadth of our health and human services sector, including our agencies serving people experiencing homelessness. 

One of those agencies is the YMCA of Central Ohio. Today, they announced that they’re converting their gym into a homeless shelter. That’s leadership, leadership that I could recite from each of our 80 members through this moment.

But few have led more than Dr. Amy Acton, who as Director of the Ohio Department of Health has ensured our state would be among the most aggressive in addressing the coronavirus. I wrote about her earlier this week, prompting Sonya Thesing, Executive Director of our members at Huckleberry House to tell me, “Just as her work literally saved a Huck House program in a time of crisis, she’s saving lives. I tell everyone that her heart is as big as her brain.” 

Sonya had no idea that hours prior, Director Acton had been approached by Homage, a local apparel company that wanted to make a t-shirt celebrating her leadership. In tribute to Dr. Acton, who had herself experienced homelessness growing up, Homage chose to direct proceeds from that t-shirt’s sales to Huckleberry House.

You can purchase it here.

There are extraordinary challenges facing our sector right now. But we are seeing extraordinary efforts to meet and exceed them, too. 

At HSC, we are deeply grateful to every single case worker and social worker and nurse and doctor and everyone else across our membership and across the healthcare system serving our community right now, with courage. 

And we are grateful to everyone else rushing to their aid.

Let’s all come together to support them, and to support one another, in the hard days and weeks to come, as a new reality settles in for us all.