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Community-Based Organizations Are More Important Than Ever During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Cheryl Levine, ASPR/EMMO
Published Date: 12/28/2020 11:23:00 AM
Category: Response & Recovery; Innovations;

Four New Tools for the Community-Based Organization's Toolkit

How Community-Based Organizations Can Leverage Innovative Practices, Build New Partnerships, and More for At-Risk Individuals During the COVID-19 Pandemic


“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Hellen Keller


If you work for a community-based organization (CBO) , you may have seen demand for your services rise during the COVID-19 pandemic – often without a corresponding rise in the resources required to meet the demand. In many areas, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit populations who were already at-risk especially hard, often resulting in an increased need for services.

Community health centers, childcare providers, food banks, low-income housing providers, home visiting programs, shelters and other service providers who address domestic violence, homeless services providers, and members of aging and disability networks all perform vital services in their communities – and many providers are trying to find creative solutions to rapidly evolving problems. To guide you through some of these complex issues, we have developed a series of resources to help you build stronger relationships, return to work safely, use innovative approaches, and more.

ASPR’s At-Risk Individuals Program developed a toolkit with four tools that professionals in CBOs can use to more effectively leverage or grow existing resources and have a greater impact their your communities.

  • Equipping CBOs to Return to Work: Considerations for the Workforce and Workplace: Supporting staff as they return to work will involve many short- and long-term adaptations for addressing their safety. It is essential that CBO leaders provide accurate and timely information about the pandemic, link employees with new and updated policies, and offer resources to help manage stress, support coping, and address safety.

  • Supporting Clients and Family Caregiving Networks during COVID-19: COVID-19 has increased the challenges of caregiving. Family caregivers take many forms and may include family members or other informal care providers of long-term services, supports, as well as health care and social services. Family caregivers and other service providers need additional support to adapt and maintain services. The resources in the CBO toolkit can help family caregivers handle social distancing, leverage telehealth best practices, and more.

  • Bringing Innovation to CBO Service: In response to COVID-19, CBOs throughout the country have developed partnerships and implemented new practices to ensure that the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals are considered. This includes expanded access to telehealth medical services and other technology.

  • Improving the Integration of CBOs: Building Relationships in Preparation for the Next Emergency: As trusted entities within their communities, CBOs are well positioned to partner with emergency management and public health entities to address the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals during future public health emergencies. Increased utilization of community data, as well as cross-sector partnerships between CBOs and health care organizations can meaningfully address the access and functional needs of communities.


During the holidays, we at ASPR are especially grateful for the dedication that CBOs have to their communities and for the services they provide throughout the year. Thank you for your support at a time when it is urgently needed. The work that you are doing to provide for others during this trying time is important to the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of many people in your community . We encourage you to check out the resources above to help your organization work more effectively, and ultimately continue to serve at-risk individuals during the holidays and throughout the year.


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