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Showing posts from February, 2013

Care for the Homeless Files Medicaid Process Recommendations

Care for the Homeless has joined the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (where our Executive Director, Bobby Watts, currently serves as Board President) and 22 other national, regional or local organizations across the country that provide services to or advocate for people experiencing homelessness, to file a set of reactions and recommendations regarding eligibility and enrollment in an expanded Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).  The filing submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on February 21st designed to make the Medicaid process and exchanges operated under the ACA more effective, more efficient and to enable greater access for homeless people and in turn cut costs of the program.
The recommendations deal with the special needs of poor and unstably housed persons. For example, one recommendation suggests flexibility in documentation requirements and provision of assistance in meeting enrollment requirements for those experi…

Six Days Till the Funding Cut Catastrophe No One Wants!

It’s the part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” Washington calls “sequestration.” We call it a catastrophic cut to programs America’s neediest citizens count on for vital health care, housing assistance and basic necessities, and it’s scheduled to take effect on March 1st. It’s been pushed back repeatedly because every policy maker agrees this is bad public policy; but if the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President can’t agree and pass an alternative before March 1st, it’ll happen. So what’s been going on in Washington: the House of Representatives has been out of session for the last couple of days, and won’t be back in town until next week. There’s no compromise in sight, but lots of finger pointing.
Here’s what we do know: if the across the board cuts do fully go into effect hundreds of thousands of poor individuals and families in America will be hurt. Many poor and homeless individuals and families will lose access to health care. Hundreds of thousands of people str…

The State of the City Speech Includes Ideas to Fight Homelessness

On Monday afternoon, February 11th, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave her final “State of the City” address as Council Speaker at City Hall. She spoke about education, jobs, economic development, New York City as a collection of neighborhoods, and much of the coverage of her speech was about its focus on affordable housing for New Yorkers. You might not have heard as much about the part of her speech that addressed homelessness, but take a look at these 3 paragraphs from her address: ***** "As we work to provide all our neighbors with an affordable place to live, we can’t ignore the growing number of homeless New Yorkers. There are currently 10,000 families living in homeless shelters in New York City, some with children just a few months old. If these kids are going to have a fighting chance, we need to get their families back on the path to stable housing. But for many, our shelter system has become a dead end. Without a rental assistance program for the homeless…

Three weeks until federal spending cuts

The “fiscal cliff” issues drag on in Washington. There are three impending financial deadlines coming up: going over the nation’s statutory debt limit, which could mean no money to operate government (or even pay bills already incurred); the end of current federal appropriations, meaning no authorization to spend which would force a shutdown of “non-essential” government functions; and the so-called “sequestration” requiring a cut of 8.2% to almost all domestic programs and much of the military, which as now scheduled to happen in 3 weeks. This isn’t just an argument over money or ideology. These programs are life-and-death, or at least life altering, necessities for many millions of Americans.
Don’t forget, for many of the federally funded programs these decisions will affect any cut this year comes on top of significant cuts last year that already stained budgets and stretched safety nets. Care for the Homeless Executive Director Bobby Watts made that plea to our representatives in Wa…

Social Services January Update!

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January may be a slower month than the busyness of December, but the Care for the Homeless social services team was hard at work providing Medical Case Management services at 13 different sites in a total of 240 visits for 151 homeless clients.  Psychotherapy services where provided at two more sites with 27 homeless clients coming in for a total of 47 visits. In addition, during January, the Social Service staff collaborated with the CFH Health Education team and medical departments to implement pap smear initiative events at six sites. The staff provided a variety of services including PHQ9 screenings, Perceived Stress Scales (PSS) screenings and co-facilitated a workshop with the Health Education team on the barriers to accessing and engaging in medical treatment. Without the Social Services teams, a large sect of the homeless population Care for the Homeless works with would go without mental health counseling and would be unable to access treatment. Their role is critical to help…

Doesn't It Feel like Groundhog's Day?

“Groundhog’s Day” used to just mean the fun, iconic event in rural Punxautawney where a phenomenal ground hog emerged from its burrow and, depending on whether it was cloudy or clear, would accurately predict either an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter. But ever since the famous Bill Murray movie by the same name, Groundhog’s Day is now short-hand for the same things happening over and over again for no good reason.
Sometimes fighting for homeless people, and better public policy, can seem like that. Four months ago Care for the Homeless Executive Director Bobby Watts testified to New York City Council about it.
“We know what works,” he said, “The cynical notion that it’s too expensive to address homelessness is just as wrong financially as it is morally. The most expensive, least effective and most inhumane method of handling the problem is what we are doing now: not dealing with long-run policies of rent supports, supportive housing and services to avoid homelessness.”
But if we …