Care for the Homeless Named “Agency of the Month” by the New York Nonprofit Press

The New York Nonprofit Press has selected Care for the Homeless as its Agency of the Month this September. We’re thrilled and honored by this recognition. In this in-depth profile, the NYNP covers our organization’s past, present and future.

An excerpt:

“Care for the Homeless began in 1985 as a three-year demonstration project,” explains Bobby Watts, CFH Executive Director.  “Two large foundations – Robert Wood Johnson and Pew Memorial Trust – were trying to figure out ways to provide healthcare and social services to the homeless.  This was when homelessness was just beginning to explode all across the country … In New York, unlike many other cities, there was no one central ‘skid row’ where the homeless congregated. As a result, the CFH model proposed sending teams of health care providers to work with homeless men and women wherever they could find them all across the city.  CFH’s teams set up shop on a rotating schedule in shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, church basements and a host of other drop-in shelters. 

“The program was so successful that in 1987, when the federal government decided it needed to step in and do something, it took this model and used it as the basis for national legislation,” says Watts.  The national Healthcare for the Homeless program, a part of the Public Health Service, now has 250 grantees across the nation.

CFH’s services are based on the idea of meeting – and serving – the homeless where they are… both physically and culturally. CFH provides services in locations where homeless men, women and families go as part of their normal routines.   The agency operates what are satellite health clinics at more than 30 locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.  These include eight shelters for single adults, eight family shelters, five soup kitchens, four Safe Havens or Drop-In Centers, several other community-based programs, and alongside three street outreach programs to deliver medical care on the street.

Care for the Homeless was founded 28 years ago specifically to address the healthcare issues of this unique and difficult to treat population.  And, despite the obvious challenges in providing healthcare to men and women who lack any form of permanent housing, the agency has racked up an impressive series of outcomes in terms of improved health status for the 8,000-10,000 individuals it treats every year.   Advocacy for policies to end homelessness in the first place is another important part of Care for the Homeless’ mission (See “ Advocacy to End Homelessness).  And, since 2008, it also has operated Susan’s Place, a NYC Department of Homeless Services-funded shelter serving 200 mentally ill and medically frail women in the Bronx (See Susan’s Place:  Combining Healthcare and Shelter).

Click here to read the full article at the NYNP.

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