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This blog is dedicated to distribute current information about the Coalition for the Homeless in Cleveland or poverty or the state of homelessness. Entries are written by board or staff of the Coalition. The opinions contained in this blog reflect the views of the author of the post. This blog features information on shelters, affordable housing, profiles, statistics, trends, and upcoming events relating to homelessness. We welcome comments, and will remove offensive or inappropriate messages. All postings are signed by the author.

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Entries in health care (15)

Wednesday
Sep302015

Thanks for the Pink Tie but How About Funds for Women's Health

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) thought it helpful to say that “I’m wearing a pink tie in solidarity with women’s health issues.” Commentary in the  Washington Post by Dana Milbank

Yesterday there was a show of "support" for women with the choice of a "female friendly" and unmanly choice of wardrobe in the political theatre known as a Congressional hearing.  Supporters of Planned Parenthood were diverted to an overflow room in their pink shirts so that a bunch of suits could fill the front rows with scowls of disapproval on their faces.  This seems weird since the pink shirt crowd could compliment the pink ties worn by the Congressman from Michigan.  This all seems like political theatre and there are so many more important issues that our elected officials could be working on to show solidarity with women's health.

  1. Family homelessness is on the rise and they need the strength of the federal government behind solving this problem.  It is too big of a problem for the local or state government and it certainly unhealthy to be homeless.
  2. Additional funding needs to go health care clinics especially in rural and segregated urban communities.  We need to keep reaching out to women and children with more affordable options for health care.
  3. The Congress should direct the states that have refused to expand Medicaid to stop playing politics with their people's health.  Why are 20 states still not allowing the modest income population suffer?
  4. We need to put more people put to work to improve the health of America.  The Congress needs to pass a transportation bill to put people back to work improving our infrastructure with good jobs that has health care.
  5. We need more affordable housing created in this country to begin to reduce the homeless population because housing is healthcare. 
  6. We could use some resolution of the high cost of prescription drugs in our society.  Why are the costs of life sustaining medicine so high in the United States compared to everywhere else in the world. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the post.

Wednesday
Apr082015

The Importance of Healthcare for the Homeless

Mayor Jackson attends the new clinic ribbon cutting in March 2015. Photo by KenThe local health care for the homeless and public housing resident's Clinic under the Direction of Care Alliance had a ribbon cutting in March 2015.  This brings a free and low cost health care facility to the Central neighborhood. This will be a big boost to those at Cedar Extension Apartments and the new units being developed across from Tri-C.  Those lower income tenants at Arbor Park and the many others around Sterling Library have a health care home now.  Why is this so important for a community? And the other question this important in the era of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare?

It is tremendous to have this expansion of health insurance in Ohio with the Medicaid expansion, but if the closest clinic is 60 blocks away there is still a hole.  Transportation is a huge barrier to maintain proper health care.  The elderly and fragile disabled populations served by these health clinics cannot travel long distances for health care.  They will if forced to, but will make better health choices if the clinic is convenient.  Those in need of healthcare will wait until things are serious before they see a doctor.  They will not want to wait in the emergency room for something that is not debilitating, but may walk over to the clinic to get it checked out. 

These Care Alliance clinics also have oral health care which is often overlooked, but can become serious.  It is often a sign of serious health issues or can start in the mouth and infection can spread to other parts of the body.  Oral health can make it difficult to process food, and can make it difficult to find stable employment.  This may mean that the individual is not taking in protein or able to eat healthy.  It may then spiral into an inability to get to sleep and the body begins to shut down.   It is a sad reality but with a glut of labor in the core city, employers often make the decision on whom to hire based on appearance.  The women without front teeth no matter how qualified is going to have a harder time getting a job.  We had a formerly homeless guy who regularly came to our office and refused to talk to groups of three or more.  Then he got healthcare last year with the ACA and all the rest of his teeth were taken out because of neglect and a gum disease.  After a couple of months, he was fitted for dentures so that he could digest food and now is regularly talking to larger and larger groups about his experiences. 

This facility has pediatrics care and a women's clinic as it opened on April 1, 2015.  We have had people who stay outside in need of care and would not go to the emergency room that received help from a Care Alliance doctor.  Outreach workers do find people living all over the city in places not fit for human habitation, and can stop into one of their clinics for help. Care Alliance offers a medical home to those displaced and wandering throughout the city.  This new clinic features a pharmacy as well.  It will only help to sign people up for health care insurance and maintain their eligibility.  This will be especially important if the State of Ohio keeps kicking people off the Medicaid Program, because they did not answer a long re-determination questionnaire. 

It is a beautiful facility which will help get homeless and low income people access to health care.  This will contribute to a healthier community. 

There is a nice article in the Plain Dealer today.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Wednesday
Aug062014

Housing, Income, Health Care and Myths

Nice article in the Huffington Post about spending time as a homeless guy.  The guy was a Navy vet and claimed that the month he spent as a homeless guy was the toughest thing he ever did in his life.  This is a short article on some of his experiences.

There was also a good article about the need for diversity in housing to address the affordable housing crisis.  This talked about the many different funding sources necessary to put together affordable housing. This comes out of Seattle from a developer and legislator who is pushing for expanded rights to tenants and a comprehensive plan to build affordable housing or at least to use the resources that they have in a more strategic manner in Seattle.  We have called for a similar plan in Cleveland

Akron has gotten into the Permanent Supportive Housing Market. Congrats. Cleveland has about 560 units with plans for one more next year.   We just completed our Teach In to showcase how beautiful these places are locally.  We will post more on this in the next week.  There was community opposition, but one local developer in Akron really pushed the proposal forward.

Washington Post highlighted the number of states with lower minimum wage laws when compared to the Federal minimum wage.  This is part of the income inequality debate that is increasing at this time. 

This is a sad commentary that I have seen before.  The reality is that time spent homeless does decrease the lifespan of the individual. 

Dr. Kelly Doran, an emergency room physician, sums it up pointedly: "chronically ill, chronically homeless patients who we see so frequently...are likely to be dead within a few years if we do not do something to change their situations."

It is for this reason on none other that we need to overcome community opposition to affordable housing.  We need to save someone's life, and recognize that homelessness is a health care issue.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday
Jul282014

Housing is Healthcare!

This morning on Morning Edition there was a discussion about New York state's effort to use federal health care dollars for housing.  They specifically are petitioning the federal government to be able to use Medicaid dollars for housing.  The State's argument is that they already pay for housing in mental health facilities and nursing homes or the inability to discharge people to the streets so why not pay for safe places for people to recover from a serious health condition? WCPN also weighed in with a story about the value of expanded Medicaid to a family. I have seen attempts in Colorado and Boston to do innovative housing using health care dollars.  So, to answer the question posed on NPR, yes, housing is healthcare!

Imagine breaking your leg and going to the hospital to have it set while sleeping in a shelter.  The hospital will release you with a cast and then try to get bed rest to recover from the broken bone.  It is not easy and it is unlikely that you will be able to keep the leg up while you recover.  You have to go get food and most shelters make you leave from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.  How do you recover from a fever in a shelter or even surgery?   Behavioral health issues are just as big of a problem for those without housing because they cannot find a place to recover.   There is the problem of repeated trips to the most expensive part of the health care continuum with emergency room care.  There is repeat visits because homelessness and bed rest are mutually exclusive.  There is the issue of sleep deprivation in the homeless community which then causes other health issues.  There is an inability to get consistent care for chronic health conditions because of an inability to secure quality health insurance (before 2014).  

Housing is a game changer for people with long term health issues.  If you have a solid bed to go back to and get a good night sleep it will change your life.  Housing takes a great deal of stress and pressure off a person.  Housing allows a person to take their medication on a consistent schedule without their pills being stolen.  You can take care of personal hygiene in housing that is difficult while living in a shelter, and you can make meetings with health care professionals.   Those in housing have regular sleep and can take care of their dietary needs.  Housing is critical to have effective health outcomes.  We know that those who spend a period of time living on the streets do reduce their lifespan.  It is obvious that Housing is a Health care issue. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Wednesday
May212014

Spice Alert Issued for the Shelters

The National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council has issued a warning for the shelters to be aware of a dangerous new drug that is sending homeless people to the hospital.  Two weeks ago, hundreds went to the hospital in Austin and Dallas Texas after using these synthetic drugs.  Please distribute this in the shelters and social service providers.  We have included a pdf version that you can print out and distribute.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of the individual who signs the entry