GRANT IN ACTION

The Mattole Valley Resource Center

When the Mattole Valley Resource Center was first proposed, its now-executive director Julie Simpson was told it was unnecessary. The Mattole Valley is remote and isolated, its residents notoriously self-reliant. They weren’t about to sign up for assistance or services, even confidential ones. But Simpson, who has directed other resource centers and had lived in the Mattole Valley, knew that the need was there. And in the five years since the MVRC opened its doors, its services and client base has grown substantially. Thanks to Simpson and her cohort of four Petrolia-based staff members as well as a host of local volunteers, the center now offers trainings, referrals, substance abuse and family support as well as community classes and community events.

But there is a growing subset of Mattole Valley residents who cannot physically access the services of the resource center due to age, illness or lack of transportation options, and others who are homebound or simply need more robust case management. In 2018 the resource center was awarded a $8,000 Community Health Grant from the Humboldt Health Foundation (previously the United Labor Health Foundation) to support better case management and more home visits. With a growing number of families and homebound seniors who need home visits and caregivers, center staff initiated a training for In Home Supportive Staff caregivers, providing a pathway for Valley residents to receive income and for those in need of care to receive trained caregivers. The training was a success, and MRVC staff dreaming of how they can offer even more.

“Having them inviting people to their homes, behind locked gates, it’s a big deal,” says Simpson. “There’s a level of trust people wouldn’t have with someone from town.”

Community Health Grants offered through Humboldt Health Foundation support programs and projects that enhance the physical and mental well-being of Humboldt County residents, improve the health of those who have experienced social or economic disadvantages, create support access and/or delivery access for underserved and marginalized populations. Special consideration is given to organizations which have a lasting impact or plan for sustainability after HHF grant funding is expended.

Organizations who have great projects like the Mattole Valley Resource Center are encouraged to apply by August 1.

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