How California's Community-Based Organizations Filled Gaps During COVID-19

Press Release: New report calls for greater support of CBOs by state & local governments

September 9, 2021

Oakland, CA: The COVID-19 crisis continues to inequitably affect Californians who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC). Californians who live in underserved communities are still experiencing the highest COVID-19 case rates and disproportionate economic impacts related to the ongoing crisis — outcomes that directly result from systemic racism and continued divestment.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, community-based organizations (CBOs) across California have stepped up to provide resources and services to those in need. CBOs have delivered food aid, housing assistance, personal protective equipment, translation services, vaccinations, and a host of other indispensable supports to the communities they serve.

A new report, entitled How California’s Community-Based Organizations Filled the Gaps for Underserved Communities: Meeting the Needs of Racially & Ethnically Diverse Communities During the Pandemic, shows how policymakers and community leaders can improve California’s efforts to advance an equitable recovery by supporting and empowering CBOs in underserved communities. This report was created by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), ChangeLab Solutions, and Prevention Institute and includes contributions from 21 CBOs from throughout California.

“Our research discovered that CBOs rose to the occasion, providing the services that people needed in their communities,” explains ChangeLab Solutions CEO Sarah de Guia.

“Local and state governments can certainly address some of their own gaps by bolstering the CBOs that are already trusted by community members,” states Kiran Savage-Sangwan, executive director of CPEHN.

Besides discussing the systemic inequities that underlie disparities in COVID-19 case and death rates, the report also documents the specific ways that CBOs have stepped up during the pandemic. The report concludes with equity-informed recommendations for California policymakers and community leaders on a variety of topics and policy areas.

“This report can help local governments make necessary structural changes to better serve BIPOC communities,” says Rachel Davis, executive director of Prevention Institute. “We’re excited to see local government and community leaders across California put our recommendations into action.”

Read the report: How California’s Community-Based Organizations Filled the Gaps for Underserved Communities

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