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Working to End Homelessness

Medical Respite Program

This innovative program provides recuperative care to people who are experiencing homelessness and being discharged from the hospital. In addition, the program lowers public healthcare costs by reducing unnecessary readmissions. Based out of the Columbus House shelter, referrals come from both Yale New Haven Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Haven. This 12-bed, single room occupancy program includes 24-hour supervision, on-site nursing care, healthcare referrals, transportation and case management services. The Medical Respite Program, which grew from 17 patients in 2013 to 97 in 2016, realized a 50 percent drop in readmission rates compared to the same population not enrolled in this program. This same patient population is now more than 60 percent less likely to visit an emergency department after 45 days from initial treatment.

Overnight Warming Centers

Realizing a lack of shelter beds and safe spaces to go at night during the winter, the two shelter programs in New Haven teamed up with the faith-based community and Yale New Haven Hospital to operate these warming centers. Locations include churches and overflow space at the hospital. Yale New Haven Hospital provides physician assistants, blankets and other resources while the shelter staff identify, inform and arrange transportation for clients who need these services. Together we are engaging individuals with case management services in an effort to transition people into permanent housing. The warming centers see more than 30 people per night during operation. These are individuals who would have otherwise been outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. These interactions allowed case managers from social services to engage people in creating action plans, while under medical supervision, in a safe and welcoming space.

South Central Community Care Team

Yale New Haven Hospital is one of many partners that came together in 2014 to tackle the issue of homelessness. Yale New Haven Hospital adopted the Earn Benefits Online portal for its social workers, which is a one-stop approach to helping patients access benefits vital to their health and stability. Yale New Haven Hospital also took part in the 100-Day Challenge to End Homelessness, coordinated by the United Way of Greater New Haven, which transformed the way services were provided to people who were experiencing homelessness. The 100-Day Challenge successfully placed 102 individuals in permanent housing during this time. It also instituted a common software package, accessible by every social service agency in the region, to more effectively connect these individuals to necessary benefits while sharing care plans. This type of communication had previously not existed. This collaboration was part of a statewide effort that was able to effectively end chronic homelessness for veterans in 2016.

Columbus House

columbus house

Columbus House opened its doors in 1982 to provide services for men and women of at least 18 years of age. Its goals quickly broadened from the mere provision of food and shelter and simple survival, to understanding and working toward overcoming the problems which cause people to become homeless. Along with its core of loyal supporters, friends and volunteers, Columbus House has remained committed to fulfilling its mission: “To serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence.”

To accomplish this mission, Columbus House delivers programming in New Haven and Middlesex counties, consisting of sheltering services, outreach and engagement, supportive housing, including veteran-specific housing, and wrap-around services such as job placement assistance and budget coaching. The organization maintains an extensive base of volunteer support as well as collaborative partnerships with other community-based service providers, especially in regard to the South Central Community Care Team. The team, which includes Yale New Haven Hospital, works to maintain the most efficient flow of services possible for individuals facing homelessness, and has been effective in helping people get off the streets and into safe housing.