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 policy@cfhnyc.org.

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