Thursday, December 13, 2012

Let It Begin With Me

Guanita is one of the 46,000 homeless people, more than 19,000 of them children, who sleep in the city’s shelter system every night – 30% more than only five years ago. But now, Care for the Homeless is helping Guanita find shelter…and hope.
After a series of medical setbacks, including multiple surgeries on her foot, Guanita’s medical expenses became too great and she was unable to pay her rent.  
She ended up seeking shelter through public assistance, moving from shelter to shelter in New York. After a heart attack forced her into an extended hospital stay and ultimately to Susan’s Place, the 200-bed shelter for medically frail and mentally ill women that Care for the Homeless operates in the Bronx. Guanita was in need of a medically capable facility and the clinic at Susan’s Place was a perfect solution. 
“I feel more confident,” Guanita said about being at Susan’s Place. “It’s better having a clinic here. Since I’ve come here, I haven’t had as many problems. I appreciate the staff here because they’re very calm. They know how to speak to people. The building is nice and clean and the people are very conscientious. It’s good.”
Care for the Homeless addresses a unique aspect of homelessness: healthcare. Our healthcare teams deliver services at more than 35 New York City sites including soup kitchens, SROs, family shelters, drop-in centers and street outreach programs.  Services include primary health care, oral health and health education services, as well as a full range of social services including mental health evaluation, substance abuse and alcohol counseling and case management.  In 2011, CFH served 9,726 distinct homeless men, women and children.
This holiday season, you can provide peace of mind to homeless men, women and children by supporting the work of Care for the Homeless. Give the gift of health care to Guanita and so many like her. Let it begin with us.


Housewarming for the Homeless

In order to earn the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, Michaela O’Connell, a sophomore at Croton Harmon High School in Croton, NY, came up with a project to help the residents of Susan's Place.  Her project, entitled  “Housewarming for the Homeless," will equip residents with a box of items to furnish their new apartment when they move into permanent housing.

Michaela is a member of Croton Senior Girl Scout Troop 1234 which is part of the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson.  Led by Troop Leaders Regina Hertl, Stacey Herron and Susan Vierczhalek, she visited Susan's Place for focus groups with residents to discover what items were needed when they move into their own apartments.

Michaela rallied her community to gather the desired household goods. She then recruited residents of Susan's Place to help her sort through sheets, towels, pillows, laundry detergent and kitchen items. The items were packed into a "house warming box," ready for residents as they move into permanent housing.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of Girl scouting and Michaela is continuing the Scouts' long-standing tradition of making a difference in the community. Thank you Michaela for all your hard work and for helping women who need it the most.

Job Readiness Program at Susan's Place

The Job Readiness program at Susan's Place takes homeless health care a step further. By offering a 12-week program to teach skills that will equip residents for obtaining future employment. Care for the Homeless partners with the staff of the New York Public Library’s Grand Concourse Branch (155 E 173rd St., Bronx), and the Davidson Community Center (2038 Davidson Ave., Bronx) to provide training to program participants. Participants learn adult literacy (reading, writing, and math skills), basic computer skills, job preparation necessities (resume and cover letter writing, interview skills, job searching) and life management skills (strategizing, coping and stress management).

Participants also intern at Susan’s Place Monday through Thursday for 12-15 hours per week, Monday-Thursday. Intern positions include Sales Associate at Classic Re-Runs, our non-cash boutique of donated clothes; Dining Hall Assistant, who maintains a clean and organized dining area; and Activity Coordinator, who designs and organizes activities for the residents of Susan’s Place.
In order to participate in the Job Readiness Program, prospective candidates must be presently homeless and living at Susan’s Place, must be legally authorized to work in the United States and able to commit to the entire 12-week program.

Susan’s Place finished its first cycle of the Job Readiness program in May 2012, with six women graduating from the program. One graduate said, “Because of a disability in my right hand and my arthritis, I always felt that I could only focus on one thing. But now I know I can work and have a job even with my physical condition. Now I feel that I want to go back to school to become a recreational director or a translator to help people who don’t know how to speak English. And I can start here at Susan’s Place.” The Job Readiness Program supports the dignity of homeless women and helps them become leaders in Susan’s Place, encouraging other women to participate in Job Readiness and become leaders themselves