HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Congressman Richard Neal announced a federal grant Friday at Holyoke Community College for a community health worker program aimed to help families affected by opioid use.

Congressman Neal, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, and HCC President Christina Royal announced the $399,676 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the HCC Campus Center at 11:30 a.m.

The funding comes from the HHS Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program.

According to a news release sent to 22News, the Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program supports training programs that enhance and expand paraprofessionals’ knowledge, skills, and expertise.

“Through this program and with our partners, we will not only have the ability to support more families struggling with substance use, but we will also be creating more jobs in a sector central to our region’s economic growth,” Royal said.

The program aims to increase the number of peer support specialists and other behavioral health-related paraprofessionals who work on interprofessional teams to provide services to children whose parents are impacted by opioid use disorders and other substance use disorders. It also supports their family members in guardianship roles.

“As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, I have been diligent in my commitment to use resources the committee has jurisdiction over to assist those who struggle with opioid abuse. We all know someone who suffers from this epidemic. This disease touches all people from all walks of life. We must continue to work together to combat this critical public health and safety issue, and I am grateful for the good work HCC continues to do in this realm,” Congressman Neal said.

Congressman Neal and HCC president Christina Royal were joined by representatives from the Behavioral Health Network, Holyoke Health Center, and the MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board.