Florida Disability and Health Program COVID-19 Efforts For Floridians with disabilities, COVID-19 brought unprecedented challenges to their daily lives. There are 1,944,126 households in Florida that have an individual with a disability, and 4,459,667 seniors age 65+. It is estimated that over 20% of people with disabilities live at or below the poverty line. In Florida, 14% of senior adults live at or below the 125% Federal poverty line. During the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Florida Disability and Health Program (DHP), along with its partners Feeding Florida and the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living (FACIL) identified a need to ensure that persons with disabilities had equitable access to food. Food banks were open across the state distributing thousands of food boxes daily at distribution and standard sites. However, for many persons with disabilities, traveling to those sites was not an option. There was a gap covering that last mile from the food bank to their front door. That’s when Feeding Florida, the DHP and FACIL stepped partnered up to deliver food boxes to CIL clients and others in need. The CILs and Feeding Florida began piloting this project in eight regions across the state. During the first week, Feeding Florida provided, and the CILs delivered over 23,000 lbs. of food to 3,000 front doors. As a result of this new partnership, a framework has been established that will allow CILs and Feeding Florida to continue these feeding operations during hurricanes and other emergencies and disasters. References:
- Florida Department of Emergency Management. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact Planning Report
- Institute on Disability/UCEDD. 2017 Disability Statistics Annual Report.
- State of Florida Department of Elder Affairs. 2018 Profile of Older Floridians.
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