Reach out and Read

What comes to your mind when you think about a doctor’s office waiting room?  Outdated magazines? Clipboards with pages and pages of forms?  How about what a homeless child thinks about? The uncertainty or anxiety about what’s going to happen there—when there’s already so much of that in their lives? Thanks to our partnership with Reach Out and Read, we are transforming the waiting rooms in our family health centers into engaging and inviting resource spaces, providing free, age-appropriate books for our youngest patients, alleviating some—if not exactly all—of that anxiety.  The partnership has become an important tool in affirming for our patients experiencing homelessness, that health care can be a pleasant and empowering experience—for the whole family. 
It was twenty seven years ago when two Boston Medical Center pediatricians realized their potential to have an impact on the youth they served by prescribing books to foster a language-rich interaction between parents and their ch…

Residents of Susan’s Place Learn the Value of Healthy Living

On Monday, March 12, over 50 residents of Susan’s Place attended a Nutrition Carnival organized by Care for the Homeless (CFH). At the event, residents learned more about creating a healthier lifestyle by making better food choices. The event featured information and snack tables that actively engaged the residents via trivia and fun board games. In a post-event survey, many of the residents said they enjoyed the variety of information and activities that was offered during the event.
“The games and volunteers were very informative, the snacks were healthy also,” said one resident of Susan’s Place. Snack stations introduced various healthy options to the residents including fresh fruit, yogurt parfaits and raw vegetables.

Residents were also taught how to create healthier alternatives to juice, soda, and other high-sugar drinks. “I enjoyed learning how to make flavored water by using things like green tea, mint, and berries,” another resident said. Consuming high-sugar drinks leads to w…

Fighting Homelessness One Photo at a Time

The above photos were taken by Steve Latimer, a volunteer photographer for Care for the Homeless (CFH) since December 2016. He first got involved with CFH after answering a request for a photographer on Volunteer Match. Steve says during his first encounter with employees at CFH, he saw “a group of dedicated individuals that are committed to working with people who are experiencing homelessness.” “I could tell CFH employees were trying to make life better for clients,” he said. But volunteering with CFH is not Steve’s first experience with helping individuals who are homeless.
In 1966, Steve retired from his position as an officer in the Navy and in 1968, graduated from law school. He worked at a few law firms before starting to use his skills to help people who are experiencing homelessness while working for Bronx Legal Services. Having worked in the South Bronx for several years and in other low-income communities, he became very familiar with the problems that people experiencing ho…

Financial Stability = Housing Opportunity

Living  in a homeless shelter is never anyone’s first choice. But if there is some good to come out of the experience, it could be the services offered that strengthen a resident’s knowledge and skills, preparing them for living independently once again. Financial setbacks and a lack of basic understanding about budgeting and saving, frequently play a role on the path into homelessness so it makes sense that achieving financial security is an important tool on the path out of homelessness. Here is the story of two residents of Susan’s Place are on that exciting path. 
On February 8, Ely Nunez a financial counselor at Ariva, visited Susan’s Place and held one-on-one financial counseling sessions with the residents. She works with the women so that they may reach their ultimate goal of moving out of the shelter. Ely says that some of her clients have applied for housing but were rejected by multiple housing entities because of their credit score. When Ely works with them, the first step …

The Fight for Social and Economic Equality Must Continue!

New York City (NYC) recently reached levels of homelessness not seen since the 1930s and 2017 has had the highest number of sheltered persons ever. As of February 7, there were 61,075 homeless people—including 22,967 homeless children, sleeping each night in the NYC homeless shelter system. This number does not include the official street homeless tally which is now nearing 4,000, or approximately 20,000 individuals in shelters operated by municipal Domestic Violence shelters, HIV/AIDS Service Administration (HASA) temporary housing, runaway and homeless youth shelters, and some other smaller systems aren’t include in the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) census.  NYC has the largest homeless population of any US city, and 3rd largest in per capita terms. Unsurprisingly, the city’s shelters are at full capacity and can’t handle further increases in the homeless population.

It’s clear there is an unacceptable number of homeless persons living in NYC’s shelters and on the street…

How Do You Advocate Against Homelessness?

On Monday, February 5th, as part of CFH’s First Monday Policy Briefing series, CFH Policy Associate Nathalie Interiano and CFH Client Advocate Mike Austin will discuss “How to Talk About Homelessness.” It’s a discussion and training on how to better frame and message our advocacy positions for more favorable outcomes.
Care for the Homeless and our allies are passionate about the issues that affect homeless or unstably housed people, and other people living in deep poverty. Though advocates have a comprehensive understanding of the systemic causes of homelessness - lack of access to housing and healthcare, or discrimination - and statistics and studies to support those conclusions. Our messaging is not always successful in winning supporters over or moving public opinion or media attention.
Advocates can be more successful when we frame our issues to appeal to people’s deeply held values – values like equality, opportunity and the idea that everyone deserves a fair chance to achieve his …

Calling on Washington to Fund Community Health Centers

The biggest share of federal funding for Community Health Centers, like Care for the Homeless, expired with the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, 2017 – that’s 124 days ago. Of course, we weren’t alone: at the same time funding for CHIP (Childrens’ Health Insurance Program), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education program (THCCME) all expired. When authorization for federal funding through these programs expires that is sometimes referred to as “going over the fiscal cliff.”

Going over the fiscal cliff isn’t corrected by Congress just passing a Continuing Resolution to keep funding government temporarily for a short period of time. They need to pass language specifically extending the program that expired. When they passed a three week Continuing Resolution they did that for CHIP, but not for the Community Health Center Fund that provides 70% of the federal funding for community health centers across the country.…