Curative and Homeboy Industries Partner to Bring Testing and Vaccines to Formerly Incarcerated Community Members in Downtown Los Angeles

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve witnessed the immense impact that communities have on health outcomes. From wearing masks, to social distancing, to supporting local businesses, social responsibility has pushed us to become closer together despite being physically apart. As we near the end of this era in our lives, the final fight against COVID-19 comes down to the willingness of community members to do their part. As everyone in the United States over the age of 12 is eligible for a vaccine, Curative is working to make the doses convenient, comfortable, and easily accessible while addressing hesitancy and concerns that are as diverse as communities themselves. 

To bring vaccines in an efficient but culturally-informed way, we’ve found that the key is utilizing unique, micro-targeted partnerships. One such partnership is with Homeboy Industries, a one-of-a-kind pillar of the Los Angeles community. Our goal is to bring healthcare resources to formerly incarcerated community members and residents of Downtown Los Angeles. No partnership for this population could be more impactful than Homeboy Industries, which provides “hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women, allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community.” 

Homeboy Industries has helped over 10,000 former gang members from across Los Angeles to become integrated into the community. Since 1988, Homeboy Industries has developed into a global network of over 400 organizations, called the Global Homeboy Network. We were honored to be their partner to bring healthcare resources to their members and the community. 

Curative staff members in front of Homeboy Industries at our vaccination site

Over the years, Homeboy has gained the trust of its members, and now that confidence helps address hesitancy in receiving vaccines. At Homeboy, leaders noticed that testing in the community would often incite fear and be seen as taboo. Hector Verdugo, the executive director of Homeboy Industries, wanted to solve this problem by providing a trustworthy, secure, and comfortable testing option for its members. 

Curative brought a mobile testing van to Homeboy’s Chinatown-adjacent facility once a week for around seven months. This long-term partnership made Curative an ideal choice when looking for a healthcare partner to administer vaccines. 

The flyer used to promote Justice Impacted Vaccination Day, featuring Curative and 20 other partners

On Saturday, May 22, 2021 Homeboy Industries and the office of Hilda Solis hosted Justice Impacted Vaccination Day, which brought together 20 Los Angeles-based community organizations to provide healthcare and material resources to anyone in attendance. The 20 organizations in attendance included: Black AIDS Institute, Soledad Enrichment Action, Dignity and Power Now, The Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership, Baby2Baby, LayUp, ACLU SoCal, SoCalGas, The California Endowment, Youth Justice Coalition, API RISE, Southern California Crossroads, SHIELDS for Families, LA Voice, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Los Angeles Regional Foodbank, Crossroads UMC, Californians for Safety and Justice, and the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department.

Each community organization invited its target demographic, and attendees were given the opportunity to receive a vaccine, hot meal, diapers and sanitary products, and swag bags. In addition to the contacts from each organization, Curative sent a team of nine field operations staff to the surrounding Chinatown area and spent four hours handing out flyers to residents, business owners, and visitors the day before the vaccination fair. 

On the day of the event, spirits were high, and booths were staffed with people eager to serve the community. Homeboy’s central location allowed passersby to join in, ask questions, and, if interested, receive a vaccine. Utilizing the knowledge from community partners allowed our delivery to be as informed and impactful as possible. They were experts on how to assuage concerns and build confidence amongst their demographic. In total, we were able to vaccinate 127 people that single day, and based on that success scheduled a follow-up date for additional doses. 

“We at Homeboy Industries are so grateful to have a partner in Curative. Our community was able to come to a familiar and trusted place for COVID testing throughout the pandemic, and recently, for a vaccination clinic. Curative met our community where they are at, shining a light on hope, wellness, and connection. Thank you.” -Thomas Vozzo, CEO of Homeboy Industries

Representing Curative at the event, California Director of Growth Haley Albert stated: 

“Curative staff members are here to guide you through the vaccination process. no one is a better advocate or better person to talk about vaccines and the importance of getting vaccinated than you. Your community seeing you here getting a vaccine will encourage them to want to come, ask questions, and come to Homeboy, a trusted beacon of this neighborhood.” -Haley Albert, California Director of Growth

Our strong ties to community partners have made our commitment to health equity tangible. With Homeboy Industries, Curative has helped to bring vaccines to formerly incarcerated community members and the Los Angeles family that Homeboy Industries has created. Supported by the 20 other organizations in attendance, the Justice Impacted Vaccination Day was a major success, positively impacting the wellbeing of all attendees. We look forward to continuing to increase access to healthcare resources by partnering  with community organizations that meet people where they are.

Curative Inc. and its subsidiary, Curative Management Services LLC, engage with medical entities that provide vaccination services. 

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