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June 12, 2024

Philly distributes $3.1 million from opioid settlement to 43 community programs

Grants of $20,000 or $100,000 were given to 16 organizations in the North Philly, 13 in Kensington and 14 citywide.

Government Addiction
Opioid Settlement Funds North Philly Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

After giving out $3.5 million in February to Kensington residents, the city doled out another $3.1 million in opioid settlements to local nonprofits, with 16 grants going to groups in North Philly (above).

Philly community groups just got another round of funding from the opioid settlement, with a particular emphasis on providing aid to programs in North Philadelphia. 

The city on Wednesday announced it has distributed more than $3.1 million to community groups and nonprofits offering neighborhood support and healing from addiction. The funding is part of the estimated $200 million that the city is expected to receive over 18 years from the Overdose Prevention and Community Healing Fund

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In total, 43 organizations and programs received grants, with 14 receiving $20,000 and 29 receiving $100,000. Geographically, 14 grants were distributed citywide, 13 were given to groups in Kensington and 16 in North Philadelphia. This round of funding comes after the city distributed $3.5 million from the settlement to Kensington residents in February for home repairs and eviction prevention. 

"We are especially thrilled to see so many more applications this round from organizations in North Philly, the second highest neighborhood after Kensington for fatal overdoses in the city of Philadelphia," said Noelle Foizen, the city's overdose response unit director. "We ramped up community partners-targeted outreach this last call to increase awareness of this grant program."

Groups were chosen by a committee, which looked at the types of programming organizations offer, the populations they serve and the impact in the community. 

"Each and every one has shown an unwavering commitment to improving quality of life, healing trauma experienced by residents and alike," Philadelphia Public Safety Director Adam Geer said. "This funding recognizes their ongoing efforts and invests in their vital work as trusted community messengers and partners in the challenging work ahead."

Connectedly, a nonprofit that helps seniors, is one of the groups that received a $20,000 grant. Executive Director Marypat Tracy said the organization will use the money to facilitate support groups for grandparents raising grandchildren, counseling for those who have lost adult children to addiction, workshops for grandparents on supporting children who have lost parents and quarterly family events to promote healing. 

"As you might guess, no grandparent is raising their grandchildren for a happy reason," Tracy said. "Many of our grandparents that we work with are raising their grandchildren due to drug abuse by biological parents of these children. Family healing is most desperately needed by these families." 

Dianne Hoffmann, executive director of the Mother of Mercy House, said her organization plans to use the $100,000 grant it received on speakers and coaches for neighborhood youth, driving engagement with community dinners, block parties and social events. The funding will also help aid in wound care, including educating users about why they're getting wounds from injections. 

The North Philly Project plans to spend the $100,000 on an "information blitz" about harm reduction and how it could help the neighborhood, as well as investing more in peer-support programming. For Executive Director Aaron Wells, a longtime resident, it's a chance to dig deep into growing the neighborhood. 

"I see North Philadelphia as an oasis. ... Where other people see decay, I see paradise, I see opportunity, I see potential — always have, always will," Wells said. "But I also know that we have to get really engrained in this thing, we have to understand that people who are suffering over addiction are not a statistic."