Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mobile Health Clinic Ready to Roll

The map at Care for the Homeless is about to change.

Through a partnership with The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Care for the Homeless is giving new life to a Mobile Health Clinic, set to launch later this summer.  This program addresses two distinct and time-sensitive problems in NYC: meeting the health needs of homeless people and the need for greater disaster preparedness.

Thanks to a generous award from Direct Relief, the required renovations on the Care for the Homeless Mobile Health Clinic were completed ahead of schedule.

The Mobile Health Clinic is a cost-effective approach to disaster preparedness—it’s not waiting in storage when catastrophe strikes.  And, according to Executive Director Bobby Watts: “Who better to assist in a disaster than Care for the Homeless? Our everyday work, in many ways, resembles disaster treatment. We frequently serve patients who arrive in personal crisis, without identification or medical records. We’re grateful to Direct Relief for funding this project. It makes perfect sense that our teams should join first responders.”

In an emergency—large or small-scale disaster—the Care for the Homeless Mobile Health Clinic is not limited to serving homeless people.

The renovation of the interior took several weeks, while an overhaul of the generator and a mechanical upgrade took place. We added new tires, upgraded medical equipment and a new safety ladder. Inspected by the Federal Safety Motor Administration and the NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles and Dept. of Health, the Mobile Health Clinic is set to launch later this summer.

“As soon as our application for licensure and certification is approved by the NYS Dept. of Health,” says Assistant Executive Director Debbian Fletcher-Blake, “we’re ready to roll.”

“The application is being expedited, as the State knows the need that Care for the Homeless is working to address,” Fletcher-Blake continues. “The NYS DOH is also placing our program onto the list of reliable providers for large-scale and community-scale disasters.”

The Mobile Health Clinic made its red carpet debut at our April 24th Health, Care and Hope Gala:

Initially, the Mobile Health Clinic will travel to two sites with high need and poor health outcomes in the South Bronx. Over 1,000 men, women and children sleep in homeless shelters in these targeted neighborhoods every night.

We thank Direct Relief, our generous Gala Sponsors and all the donors who support our mission for helping us launch this critical new program. Care for the Homeless plans to hold an open house in September, several weeks after the program has launched. Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Care for the Homeless Clients Celebrate Successes in Overcoming Homelessness

And Second Opportunities for Those Still in Need

Each year on the day of the winter solstice in December, the “longest night of the year”, Care for the Homeless and hundreds of other groups across America observe Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day to remember those who have died during the year without housing and to recognize that better policies can end modern day homelessness as we know it.

This past Saturday, on the occasion of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the client leaders at Care for the Homeless inaugurated a new event: a Summer Solstice Success Celebration. It’s an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the success people have had in overcoming obstacles to beat homelessness by finding and maintaining permanent, stable housing.  It also recognizes that with better policies every New Yorker who is unstably housed or on the verge of homelessness could have an opportunity for the same kind of “second chance” the honorees at the Celebration were able to take advantage of.

“Homelessness is a crisis,” Care for the Homeless Executive Director Bobby Watts told the assembled

crowd at Broadway Presbyterian Church on Saturday. “But with the right policies and programs we can end homelessness as we know it. As we advocate for those better policies it’s important to recognize there are people who overcome the evil of homelessness, and to celebrate their success. With each success, the individual – and society – is healthier and stronger.”

New York City Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor spoke at the event and handed out awards to the event’s honorees. The program also featured lunch, live music and entertainment and “stories of success” from several Care for the Homeless clients now living in permanent housing.

Friday, June 20, 2014

NYU Club Knits and Crochets 185 Baby Blankets for families served by Care for the Homeless

Today, members of the NYU Naughty Knitters club, started by Jennie Tichenor in 2010, presented Care for the Homeless with a record-setting donation:

185 hand-knit and crocheted baby blankets

Photo courtesy of Dean G. Mudgett, NYU

Volunteering thousands of hours of time and creativity, the club has adopted Care for the Homeless, providing over 600 blankets since the annual program began. These blankets will be distributed at Care for the Homeless sites throughout NYC - in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens - to hundreds families in need.

We thank the generous and talented members of the 

NYU Naughty Knitters for this amazing donation!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New York City: People Want to Wake Up in a City That Doesn’t Sleep

Jeff Foreman, Director of Policy

New York City’s population is growing according to U.S. Census data released in May. Gotham recorded the largest census increase of any major American city, growing by 61,440 in 2013 census estimates, reaching a new high of over 8.4 million. America’s second most populous city is Los Angeles at 3.8 million, followed by Chicago with 2.7 million.    

Unfortunately, New Yorkers also have the highest homeless population in America (the 2013 HUD estimate puts daily homelessness in New York City at 64,060, 11% of the total U.S. homeless census) and probably the highest unstably housed student population in America (using the definition of “lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence”) at 66,931 in the most recent statistics available.  

Read more in this month's Policy Matters newsletter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Join us for a Summer Solstice Celebration on June 21

Housing Instability is catastrophic problem that directly impacts hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year; but there are great success stories of people who have overcome tremendous obstacles to find and maintain stable housing and a far better life. 

Please join us for a Summer Solstice Celebration to celebrate the success of New Yorkers who have overcome homelessness. Download the poster for more details.

Saturday, June 21st 

1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

Broadway Presbyterian Church, 601 W. 114th Street (at Broadway) in Manhattan


Our celebration will include music and entertainment, food and celebration, and of course stories of success.

The winner of our first “Stories of Success” Short Essay contest will be there to read their winning entry. Every participant will have the opportunity to define their own success! 

Our Summer Solstice Success Celebration recognizes not only success for individuals in getting and keeping stable housing, but also that as a community we have the ability to fight, prevent and actually end modern day homelessness in New York City. We know about programs that work. We know policy choices helped create modern day homelessness and that better choices could end it.

Everyone is invited - join us in the celebration – and join up in the fight to end modern day homelessness!   

Questions? Please call 212-366-4459 or email

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Volunteers Complete 70-Foot Mural at Susan's Place

After several months of planning and tireless hours of painting, volunteers unveiled a new mural at Susan's Place this past weekend. Covering 70 feet--spanning the length of the cafeteria at Susan's Place--this new mural, called "Moving Forward," was made possible through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity NYC's Brush with Kindness program.

Are you interested in volunteering your creative talents for Care for the Homeless? Contact Angela Petriello at or 212.366.4459 ext. 222 to learn more.

Follow the mural's progress below:

We thank all the volunteers who helped beautify this space. Susan's Place is a 200-bed residence for homeless women. Since opening in 2008, over 1 million meals have been served in this cafeteria.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Client Leader Tells National Conference: “Care for the Homeless Saved My Life”

In a moving moment during his presentation to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council conference on Friday, Care for the Homeless (CFH) Consumer Advisory Board Chairman David Broxton told conference attendees from across the country, “Care for the Homeless saved my life!” He was one of several CFH clients to attend the conference in New Orleans last week, along with several hundred CFH staff and clinicians, providers, administrators, clients and advocates from across North America.

Broxton speaking last year on WWRL.
Broxton was homeless and residing in a shelter 12 years ago when he went to a CFH health clinic. After a successful career in appliance sales, including operating his own retail store in Brooklyn, Broxton suffered a series of health and family setbacks leading to drug addiction and homelessness. At the lowest point of his life, and suffering depression and “not caring much” what happened to him, Broxton saw a CFH clinician and received a cancer diagnosis.

“How long do I have to live?” Broxton asked the clinician, Nurse Practitioner Debbian Fletcher-Blake. As he tells it, her response was “Who said anything about dying?”

Broxton says Fletcher Blake’s concern for him and her treatment (“she treated me with respect and compassion, as if I were her own family”, he says) saved his life and renewed his enthusiasm for living. Not only did he regain health, but he has been stably housed for over a decade. Broxton is now an active CFH client peer outreach volunteer and a Certified CFH Policy Advocate.

Broxton is especially active in the Care for the Homeless Speakers’ Bureau which offers presentations to interested organizations, schools and faith communities by homeless and formerly homeless CFH speakers, telling their own stories and talking about policies that could fight, prevent and end homelessness in New York City. Interested  organizations can arrange for a presentation by contacting