HealthSpark Foundation’s Blueprint for a Better Safety Net

Image via HealthSpark.

HealthSpark Foundation’s Blueprint for a Better Safety Net

The HealthSpark Foundation has released a clear vision and plan for rebuilding a stronger, more resilient and just social safety net in Montgomery County called the Blueprint for a Better Safety Net.

In April of this year, the HealthSpark Foundation launched a dedicated investigation into understanding the cracks and disparities in Montgomery County’s existing social safety net, exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new Blueprint is the result of a months-long, community-driven process to understand what improvements can be made to better the lives of Montgomery County community members in need.

In an exemplary display of strength and creativity, nearly 200 community partners shared their experiences and contributed their insights with the HealthSpark Foundation to then craft the Blueprint, which identifies six guiding principles to begin taking action with. 

The first step is to build the safety net system’s capacity to advance racial and social justice within the community. The Blueprint outlines plans to first build personal, organizational, and systemic understandings of racism, and to fund training for staff, boards, donors, and policymakers.

The Blueprint highlights putting an end to chronic underfunding and eliminating restrictive rules of who qualifies for help.

This means advocating for full funding to ensure all services are funded at true cost and all staff are paid livable wages and health benefits. 

The Blueprint calls for the sustaining of technological advances that have happened in the year 2020 and the supporting of equitable access to technology. This includes ensuring everyone has access to the internet and creating programs that provide phones and tablets to those in need.

Another guiding principle outlined in the Blueprint is supporting the emotional well-being of staff and community members, achieved by a community-wide approach to trauma informed care and designing outreach for those who don’t have the ability to go to support services regularly.

The Blueprint plans on strengthening the operational practices of safety net providers by providing resources to build skills in financial management, scenario planning, and business continuity planning. The hope that the guiding principles within the Blueprint outlines is to build a more vibrant, active, and inclusive community. 

Read more about HealthSpark Foundation’s Blueprint for a Better Safety Net here.