Thursday, December 26, 2013

Street Medicine, an innovative approach to patient care.

Did you know our street medicine team is part of a group that reduced the number of people living on the streets of the Bronx by 72% over the last eight years? 

Your gift makes our work possible. Donate today.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hope and Reflections on the Longest, Darkest Night of the Year

Jeff Foreman, Policy Director

Client leaders of Care for the Homeless observed Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on Saturday, the longest night of the year, memorializing by name over 90 people who died in New York City without homes in 2013, and recognizing hundreds and hundreds more. As each name was read a bell tolled, a candle was lit and that person’s name was projected on a wall. Several people were remembered with personal recollections and video presentations. Several audience members came forward with names of loved ones they lost.

But the message wasn’t bleak, it was hopeful. Care for the Homeless Executive Director Bobby Watts told those assembled he had confidence. “Homelessness is evil,” he said, “but we can destroy it. We can end modern day homelessness as we know it.”

State Senator Bill Perkins, whose Harlem district was the location of the event, said he “looked forward to a day of ‘homefullness’ when all people will have homes and healthcare as a basic human right.”

One of the dozen client leaders who spoke, Anthony Williams, said “Care for the Homeless is the best kept secret in New York, but their incredible work saves lives on the streets and in shelters every day.”  David Broxton, another client leader, said “better public policy can offer everyone in need a second chance.”

Along with the Homeless Persons’ Memorial program, Care for the Homeless volunteers served over 200 meals, gave out health information and “invitations” for people experiencing homelessness to visit CFH clinics for free medical care and human services, registered new voters and circulated a petition to Congress asking that no more cuts be made to safety net programs for poor or homeless people.

The program also featured entertainment including art, music by keyboardist Eustace Johnson and drummer Garrett McMahan, singing by the New Song Choir, David Broxton, Ava Connor and Rhonda Minosa, and poetry by Gayle Dorsky and Emily December.  Participants included Pastor Vincent Deas of New Song Church, Pastor Antoinettea Ettiene of Iris House, Iman Hakim Rasheed of BCI and Pastor Dan Snell of St. Mary’s Church.   

Learn more about Homeless Persons' Memorial Day in Jeff Foreman's column, originally published on December 19, 2013 in the Gotham Gazette. Read more.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Care for the Homeless awarded Level 3 PCMH recognition

Level 3 is the highest level of national recognition. 
We are honored to share with you that Care for the Homeless, which serves more than 8,000 homeless men, women and children every year, has been formally recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) at our main clinic site. Level 3 recognition is the highest level of national recognition a primary care practice can receive.  

This recognition validates our commitment to quality. According to NCQA, the rigorous standards measured by the PCMH program raise the bar in defining high-quality care by emphasizing access, health information technology and partnership and coordination across the system. PCMH Recognition shows that Care for the Homeless has the tools, systems and resources in place to give patients the right care at the right time.

Our generous supporters and advocates for our mission have much to be proud of given this recognition. With your continued investment in our work, we move forward with a spirit of continuous quality improvement across Care for the Homeless as we work to achieve that level of recognition for our extension clinics in 2014.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

An Exciting Week Leading Up to Homeless Memorial Day on Saturday.

Jeff Foreman, Policy Director
The client leaders of Care for the Homeless are working hard on their Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day program for this Saturday, December 21. We hope you’ll attend.

Homeless Persons' Memorial Day
Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 3:30 p.m.
New Song Church
2230 Frederick Douglass Boulevard (8th Avenue)
between 120th and 121st Streets in Harlem 

In the meantime the week leading up to the event has been exciting. Last week Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio appointed his Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, who  supervises the Department of Homeless Services among other agencies. The Mayor-elect and Deputy-Mayor designate Lilliam Barrios-Paoli immediately charted a course to radically reduce homelessness in New York City. If that wasn’t enough, de Blasio’s Chief Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris– his second in command – joined in calling the homeless situation in our city unacceptable and lamenting how we ever got in this kind of situation.

Mayor-Elect de Blasio and his Health and Human Services Deputy endorsed a series of policy changes, all of them included in the Care for the Homeless Agenda to End Homelessness. They pledged to reinstate targeting a portion of City public housing and Section 8 housing vouchers for families experiencing homelessness, more resources aimed to prevent homelessness, a push for more affordable housing specifically for very-low income New Yorkers and to establish a housing subsidy program to move people in shelters to permanent housing. 

You bet we’re excited about new, more aggressive city policy led by people committed to ending homelessness like Bill de Blasio, Tony Shorris and Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. If you want to hear more about our Agenda to End Homelessness, it’s certain to be discussed at our Homeless Memorial Day event this Saturday, December 21, the longest night of the year, between the food, entertainment and memorial remembrance for people who died in New York City this year without housing. 

We hope to see you there. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Are you following the NYT 5-Part Series on Child Homelessness? We are.

Are you following the New York Times series on homelessness this December?

Read Care for the Homeless Executive Director Bobby Watts' response in his Letter to the Editor.

Learn more in this opinion published in the Gotham Gazette by Jeff Foreman, Care for the Homeless Policy Director.

Child homelessness in New York City has risen 22% in the last year. Care for the Homeless is on the front lines, changing the lives of homeless men, women and children with your support.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Remembering Homeless People on the Longest, Darkest Night of the Year

Once a year, on the longest, darkest night of the year, Homeless Memorial Day is observed. 

The winter solstice was chosen for this observance precisely because it can be so bleak; reminding us of the bleakness of life without a home. Last year over 175 communities across the United States had some ceremony or program to mark Homeless Memorial Day. 

You’re invited to join us this year in remembering people who died without a home in New York City and to hear about being homeless in New York City and how we can end homelessness as we know it. Please come to our Homeless Memorial Day program starting at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 21st, at New Song Church, 2230 Frederick Douglas Boulevard (8th Avenue), between 120th and 121st Street, in Harlem.

We think you’ll find the program interesting and inspiring. It’ll include food, music, art, entertainment, and a moving ceremony remembering people who passed away in 2013 without a home in New York City. There will also be tables with information on consumer information and banking, voter registration, health education and more.

You’ll also be hearing why it doesn’t have to be like this – how public policy helped create mass homelessness and how better policies can end modern day homelessness.

We hope to see you there.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

From all of us at Care for the Homeless, THANK YOU.

From all of us at Care for the Homeless: THANK YOU!

In the last year, Care for the Homeless served 8,474 homeless men, women and children, providing 33,627 clinic visits at over 30 sites. With your support, we responded to a 44% increase in demand for mental health care.

Focusing on the most vulnerable, our street medicine team is part of an outreach initiative that resulted in a 72% reduction in street homelessness in the Bronx over the last eight years.

Since we opened the shelter in 2008, over 900 women have moved from Susan's Place into permanent housing. Less than 8% become homeless again.

Thank you for helping us change the lives of homeless men, women and children in NYC.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Every 9 minutes, someone in America is infected with HIV. We unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Care for the Homeless Observes World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day has been observed across the world on December 1st each year starting in 1988 (making this the 25th observance). Care for the Homeless and our clients have been actively participating in it for almost as long. 

On World AIDS Day we unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It’s a fight Care for the Homeless has fought for years. Our clinicians perform HIV testing. Our clients provide peer support and education. Our providers treat it and counsel those infected. Our clinics and health educators dispense information and education. We advocate for policies to assist in the fight.  

World AIDS Day is also a time to remember those we’ve lost to this terrible disease. Worldwide over 25 million have been lost to AIDS. In 2013, Care for the Homeless lost two wonderful members of our client leadership boards.

New York City has over 110,000 HIV cases. Modern Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy is effective in treating most people. But the prescription regimen costs more than $15,000 annually, on average. With early detection and aggressive treatment many HIV patients live full lives and eventually die of some other disease or condition.

People living with HIV need permanent housing and high-quality ongoing medical treatment.  We must provide affordable housing for people with HIV.

But this year housing programs administered through the city HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) changed rent formulas. HIV patients in HASA housing were under a 30% rent cap, meaning rent wouldn’t exceed 30% of their gross household income. 

This year the 30% cap was removed. At Care for the Homeless we have clients now facing eviction from HASA housing because of the change. One client’s rent increased from just under $300 (30% of his income) to over $500, well over 50% of income. He’s being evicted and sent back to a city homeless shelter. That’s an inhumane and terrible outcome for him, but it’s also bad for the HASA housing project he resides in and costs taxpayers over four times the amount they were paying in housing subsidy.

On World AIDS Day we recommit to fighting this disease and to better policies to manage it and assist those living with it. Every 9 minutes someone in America is infected with HIV. There are 220,000 Americans infected who don’t know it. AIDS is the 3rd leading cause of death among New Yorkers 35-to-54 years old. 

But we agree with President Barack Obama when he said: “We Can Beat this Disease!”