United Health Foundation Pledges $1 Million to Support Vulnerable Florida Residents Amid COVID-19 Emergency

April 09, 2020
  • Partnerships with Feeding Florida and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida are part of initial $50 million commitment from UnitedHealth Group to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities

The United Health Foundation has committed $1 million to provide urgent assistance to Florida residents experiencing homelessness and food insecurity as they face unprecedented hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnerships with Feeding Florida and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida are part of UnitedHealth Group’s (NYSE: UNH) previously announced initial $50 million commitment to fight COVID-19 and support those most directly impacted, including health care workers, hard-hit communities, seniors and people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.

“The COVID-19 public health emergency has compounded the many challenges faced by Florida’s most vulnerable residents, such as those experiencing homelessness, hunger or food insecurity,” said Michael Lawton, CEO, UnitedHealthcare’s Florida Community & State plan. “Our partnerships with Feeding Florida and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida will provide critical aid to our fellow Floridians and their communities.”

The partnerships in Florida include:

  • $500,000 to Feeding Florida to work with farmers and restaurants across the state to harvest, prepare and distribute healthy food to those most in need, support school-based meal programs, partner with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs to distribute food to seniors, and help replenish food banks.
  • $500,000 to Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida to create isolation units to house those with COVID-19 symptoms, retrofit and expand shelter space to enable greater physical distancing, expand food services to meet increased need, and hire staff to replace volunteers displaced by COVID-19.

"Proper nutrition is imperative for a healthy life and strong immune system, and our network is committed to ensuring all Floridians have consistent access to nutritious foods. This is a multi-layered approach that is helping growers, re-employing people and feeding those in need,” said Robin Safley, executive director of Feeding Florida. "Our partnership with the United Health Foundation will enable us to support Florida growers by covering some of their harvest costs while also gathering products and extending their shelf life. This allows us to get this nutritious food directly to those who need it most during this crisis."

“The COVID-19 emergency has imposed new challenges on our efforts to support Central Florida residents experiencing homelessness, including the need for additional capacity, new isolation facilities and physical distancing requirements,” said John Hearn, president and CEO, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. “This support from the United Health Foundation will allow us to meet the needs of those we serve during this critical time.”

UnitedHealth Group, including UnitedHealthcare, Optum and the United Health Foundation, has a long history of addressing homelessness and food insecurity — key determinants of health among vulnerable populations in Florida and across the country. The United Health Foundation recently announced $5 million in national partnerships with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, the Feeding America network of member food banks, and Meals on Wheels America as part of its commitment to fight COVID-19 and support impacted communities.

About Feeding Florida

Feeding Florida is the state’s leading organization in the fight to end hunger. Its statewide network unites 12-member food banks to provide a healthy, adequate, and consistent food supply to every community every day. Feeding Florida food banks support more than 2,400 local charitable agencies, which provide food directly to individuals and families in need to ensure a hunger-free Florida. Feeding Florida is a unified voice regarding hunger and focuses on each community’s needs.

About Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida

Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida helps families and individuals return to safe, stable, permanent housing as quickly as possible. Each day, the Coalition serves 500 men, women, and children through its residential programs, as well as more than 100 unsheltered individuals through its community initiatives. Last year alone, the Coalition ended homelessness for more than 1,400 people. For more information, visit CentralFloridaHomeless.org.

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health care company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and helping to make the health system work better for everyone. UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. For more information, visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com or follow @UnitedHealthGrp on Twitter.