The Harm Reduction Coalition of Santa Cruz County (HRCSCC) has received a $100,000 grant, that will allow the nonprofit to expand its services.
The grant comes from the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and is administered by AIDS United in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HRCSCC is one of 49 harm reduction organizations across the country to receive the funding, which is meant to expand syringe services programs’ capacity to respond to Covid-19.
HRCSCC runs a syringe services program that includes a drug treatment access project and a large PPE distribution project.
The California Department of Public Health authorized the group to operate in the county in 2020.
The organization will use the money in part to fund a new Viral Disease Prevention Coordinator staff position and to expand services.
This means the organization’s services—provided by the Homeless Persons Health Project—will now include rapid HIV and HCV testing and referrals to treatment, direct induction into medication-assisted treatment and wound care and medical advice from physicians and nurses.
The funds will also increase the capacity for HRCSCC’s delivery program, which allows people to receive harm reduction services with as little risk from Covid-19 as possible.
HRCSCC’s Fiscal Director Kate Garrett said that the award adds “urgently needed capacity” to the organization.
“With these funds we can begin offering rapid testing for HCV and HIV onsite to our participants while they get services from us,” she said. “This is the gold standard of effective, evidence-based public health strategies that are also in line with our participants’ needs and requests.”