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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Award Winners at Care Alliance

John Corlett and Brian Davis both received awards from Care Alliance at the Annual Meeting last week.  Francis Afram-Gyening (on left) presents the award to John Corlett (middle holding award) for all his work locally to expand health insurance for low income people in Cleveland.  John is an executive at MetroHealth and he put in place MetroHealth Care Plus in preparation for Medicaid Expansion.   This policy has allowed nearly 40,000 people locally to finally have health insurance.    Cuyahoga County is a far better community because of John Corlett and we are way ahead in signing people up for Medicaid when compared to the other counties in Ohio.  This will have huge ramifications in saving money for the hospitals indigent care budgets and the health clinics. 

The Care Alliance Board also gave an award to Brian Davis Community Organizer for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.  Afram-Gyening and outreach worker, Jim Schlecht, presented the award to Davis for his years of service to the homeless community in Cleveland.  Afram-Gyening cited his long history with NEOCH going back 20 years including a time when Davis led a protest outside of the previous incarnation of Care Alliance called Healthcare for the Homeless.  Afram-Gyening also made the crowd aware of the work of Davis in keeping people safe over this past winter.  

Just a few numbers from the Care Alliance Annual Report:

  • 10,643 patients served.
  • 59% of the clients were experiencing homelessness and half had a chronic health condition.
  • 68% had no health insurance.
  • 94% live in extreme poverty.
  • 663 patients received dentures, partials or other restorative dental care.
  • 2,473 received behavioral health services.

This number of 68% having no health insurance in 2013 is significant.  Previously this number hovered around 80%.  Thanks to MetroHealth this number is going down in our community, and it will continue to decrease with Medicaid expansion.  This is going to have huge implications for the community with a healthier society and improved outcomes.  

Don't Get Sick in Texas if You Are Poor!

The second most populous state in the union is not a good place to get sick if you are poor.  Texas has 17.9% of their population living below poverty and the state leaders have decided not to extend health coverage to poor people. That is 4.5 million people who do not have an ability to afford health care coverage.  They are too poor to afford health care through the Affordable Health Care Act, and will not have the ability to have 100% of their coverage paid by the federal government.  Some of those living in poverty are children or elderly and so already have health coverage.  Some are disabled or have health care coverage at a job that pays below the poverty rate, but none of the 4.5 million will be able to obtain Medicaid. 

Florida, a state run by a health care executive, has also made the decision to forgo millions in federal dollars and the ability to improve the health care of probably somewhere around 1.6 million people of the 3.2 million people in Florida living in poverty.  Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina are also making the purely political decision to punish their citizens for electing democrats to federal offices.   There are 25.39 million people in the United States who are currently living below the poverty level in the United States and have picked the wrong state to live in. 

Will people in Nashville see that their neighbors in Louisville, Kentucky are doing a lot better because they have health care?  Will the residents of St. Louis, Missouri move across the mighty river to Illinois in order to get health care coverage?   Never before have people followed government benefits when living in poverty, but will they for health coverage?  Will a Dad with a disabled wife working at Hobby Lobby making minimum wage in Oklahoma City move his family to Little Rock to gain health coverage?   Will the 54 year old chronically unemployed woman in Concord, NH move across the border to Vermont so that at least her health care will be taken care of? 

We have posted a summary of the population of the states that are not going to expand Medicaid with the number of people living in poverty in those states.  We will keep those numbers updates as more and more states come off the list after seeing the errors of their ways.

Brian Davis

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60 Minutes Piece on Services to the Mentally Ill

There was an eye-opening piece on 60 Minutes on Sunday regarding the treatment of the mentally ill in America.   This is what Congress should be debating today instead of a four year old health care passed law. They focused on the Cook County jail labeling it the largest insane asylum in America.  I think that the Los Angeles jail could make a legitimate claim on that title, but I am not sure it is a fight that either city would want to engage in.  The reality is that mentally ill people run into problems with the law often because they have a hard time finding help.  The Justice Center downtown has a significant number of mentally ill people.   This was a good hard look at the failing mental health system, and the relationship with the mass shootings in Aurora, Navy Yard, Tucson, Newtown, and Virginia Tech.   We have seen this play out locally in East Cleveland and on Imperial Ave. A small-small-small number of mentally ill people have problems that lead to violence.  The problem is that we cast so many away to deal with their problems on their own that it is hard to pick out the few that are going to become violent. 

Everyday, we come across people who are not a threat to themselves or others but need a great deal of help.  We have women who sleep outside and have regular fights with neighbors and rants everyday about people who are out to get her.  She has been in and out of the hospital for years.   She is evaluated and it is determined that she is angry but not a threat to anyone and then released.  She has slept rough for so many years that her body is falling apart.   We have no effective way to deal with her in our society.  Community groups do not have the money or patience to build a relationship with her, and she does not trust any of the agencies that pink slip her into a hospital for evaluation (against her will).  She cannot live independently.  We have tried.  She either begins hoarding items or collecting inappropriate pets and quickly faces eviction from a landlord.  Where can this woman live in our community? [Yes, permanent supportive housing is great, but you have to be homeless for a long period of time, and there are not enough to meet the demand.]

This women who lives outside needs healthcare and health professional attached to housing.   She needs a safe place that will understand how to deal with her hallucinations.   We need to fulfill the promises of elected officials when we shut down the asylums in the 1970s.  We need a massive infusion of funds into the mental health system.  We need help to provide medicine and oversight to people struggling with a mental illness.   We need a place in our society for people who hear voices and those paranoid that is not an expensive jail.  We need a place for people who are frequent flyers at the emergency room and do not realize that they cannot bring a gun to the airport or cause a standoff with the police.   We need a place for people who repeatedly make attempts on their life and are stabilized then released to live on the streets.   I would have been willing to give back my tax cut I received from the state of Ohio for the past five years, if they would provide help for the mentally ill that did not involve homeless shelters, jails or hospital emergency rooms.  

Brian Davis

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Promissory Note Still Comes Up Short for Housing

50 years ago, African American leaders gathered in DC to seek justice and equality.  Most remember Martin Luther King Jr. delivering  the single best oratory speech since the Gettysburg Address, but John Lewis, A. Phillip Randolph and Roy Wilkins also gave powerful speeches.  Just focusing on the world of housing which was a critical plank in the push for jobs and freedom in 1963 there have been strides, but the United States has a long way to go to repay the debt.  We have seen poverty and homelessness disproportionately impact African Americans for 150 years. This last year, 80% of the County's homeless population were African American while only 30% of the population of the County were black (as defined by the US Census).  Poverty numbers are nearly double for African Americans in Cuyahoga County compared to other races. 

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given its colored people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."

The fair housing act was passed to combat discrimination in both private and public housing, but predatory lending had a devastating impact on the dream of owning a house for many Americans of African descent.  We have witnessed African American mayors in many cities in the 1990s and 2000s jailing a large number of African American men who needed a hand up because they were homeless.  Still today, the leadership of Columbia South Carolina is going to jail people who refuse shelter.  This weekend in which we marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Raleigh North Carolina police threatened arrest for feeding homeless and low income individuals who unfortunately are disproportionately African American. Shelters are routinely restricted from certain neighborhoods or entire cities. In almost every city in America (not including Cleveland), if a citizen loses their housing they end up worse than the way we treat animals, because there is no right to live inside in America.  Most have to spend some time on the streets or places not fit for human habitation because when the shelters get full they do not have an overflow system especially in summers. 

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.

Despite the Fair Housing Act, housing projects for low income people are routinely blocked by neighbors.  Out of fear and probably some lingering racist stereotypes, some neighbors on the near West Side of Cleveland blocked a permanent supportive housing project two years ago.  Even the churches in the liberal bastions of Cleveland Hts and Shaker Hts faced opposition when they tried to open their basements to shelter largely black homeless families.  Fixed public housing are still not available in Lyndhurst, Beachwood, or Rocky River which means poor people do not have the diversity of choices in where to live or what schools to send their children when compared to middle or upper income Americans.  It is easy to see that when a child starts out life behind their peers in the suburbs it will be hard for them to catch up when they never have to the opportunity to join hands with a child from another race. 

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

African Americans have a significantly higher unemployment rate today similar to the rate in 1963.  They have home ownership rates that are much lower than the general population (28% fewer African Americans own homes when compared to White populations in 2009).  They have sky-rocketing incarceration rates disproportionate to the population and disproportionate to the criminal population of America.  Prison has become the new public housing where African Americans are forced to find education and health care.  I believe that King and the other speakers would be speaking, mobilizing and marching about the injustice of the criminal justice system today.  We have created our own unforgiving Apartheid system that keeps a segment of the population poor, without a job and without housing for decades. 

We had a national housing policy that Presidents ran on up until 1980.  We do not have a plan to house our own citizens in safe, decent or affordable manner.  We do not have a way to care for disabled individuals even with a place for them to live.  We are moving backward in providing voting rights to African Americans who may want to vote for Mayors or Governors who will do something about the disparity in jobs, housing, or health care.  We have no problem accepting that African Americans will be searched on the streets for no other probable cause then the color of their skin or denied even an application for housing for no other reason then the color of their skin. 

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Every list of problems facing our society African American are on the top from incarceration, homeless, high school drop out rates, those without health insurance to the hungry, jobless, and impoverished.  Any objective analysis of the state of American Americans has to show open oppression has turned to willful neglect.  We have included the words of King here because of their power even after 50 years.  It seems that the "whirlwinds of revolt" that King referenced are not continuing to shake the foundation of democracy, but instead we have the tornado of acceptance and complacency that marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.  We as a society have come to accept that black neighborhoods will have bad schools and are indifferent to African Americans living with periods of homelessness that destroy families and destabilize the male population.  Only a portion of our society is "free at last."

Brian Davis

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Medicaid Expansion Rally in Columbus

Late Tuesday morning we boarded the van at NOBLE/Organize!Ohio offices and headed to Columbus for the Medicaid Expansion rally.  Knowing in advance that the politicians of the House and Senate were on their respective breaks, I did not think this was going to be much of a trip.  The rally was being held indoors in the atrium of the Capitol, which in hindsight should have sounded off bells and whistles.  After taking the elevator to the first floor, we approached the entrance to the atrium and immediately ran into a wall of humanity.  Our small group, obviously on time but last to arrive, resolved to sitting on the stairs outside of the atrium proper where the speeches could be heard.

I, on the other hand, would not be denied a space in the atrium where I could see and hear the speakers, two being veterans, and take photographs of the gathering.  I politely excused myself through the thorn of important looking men in two piece suits and women wearing professional dress suits.  I finally make it to the opposite side of the room where the stage was set up and located a spot that I could stand and not block the line of sight of anyone’s view.  I had been standing there for a few minutes and nice woman watching me offered me a vacated sitting spot next to her on what once was an exterior window seal.  The spot was not bad, I could hear the speeches and see the woman doing the signing, but, taking pictures was impossible

So, to the mezzanine I headed where other shutterbugs had camped out the best vantage spots for snapping off mega pixels of pictures.  (Editor's Note: This must have been the same spot with the Associated Press since it is almost the exact same picture).  When I approached my peers at the rail, an amazing thing happened—the wall of shutterbugs parted and I was motioned to a newly cleared rail spot so that I could take my turn at snapping off several mega pixels of images.  I got there just in time to document the reason so many suits were there.  Ohio’s top elected official, Governor John Kasich was being announced and most of the onlookers were happy to be joined by a conservative who supports the expansion of Medicaid.

All levity aside, after lobbying for Medicaid expansion in recent months with the knowledge that the Governor supported the expansion of Obamacare in his budget, he was clearly disregarded by his own party.  It was fitting that the Capital atrium was filled wall to wall with many organizations, individuals, and elected officials that lobbied for the expansion and to have the Governor address those that have supported him through the process.

The Governor’s speech was well received and the contents were exactly what everyone wanted to hear from him. Kasich said that he was not done fighting and urged the crowd to continue to push their legislators.  He did not disappoint anyone in our delegation or any other group that worked hard but so far unsuccessfully toward passing the budget with Medicaid expansion included.

NOW is the time to get this done!

Extend Health Coverage in Ohio

by Norman Wolfe

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Medicaid Bus Trip to Columbus on Tuesday

Despite advocates, health care professionals, business leaders, and social service providers agreeing that Ohio needs an expansion of Medicaid, the Ohio legislature failed to include the expansion in the 2013-2015 budget.  This will mean that at this point 275,000 additional Ohioans will not be able to take advantage of Obamacare in 2014.  On Tuesday July 9th at 1 p.m. advocates will gather at the State Capital Atrium in Columbus to urge the Governor to push Medicaid expansion through the legislature.

Vans will leave from Cleveland on Tuesday morning from the NOBLE and Organize!Ohio offices at 3500 Lorain Ave. on the near west side of Cleveland.  Call 216-651-2606 to reserve your seat and attend this demonstration in Columbus.   Advocates from around the State will attend to urge Ohio leaders to cover the uninsured and provide health care to Ohioans who cannot find health insurance. 

Brian Davis

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Homeless Stand Down 2013

Another successful homeless Stand Down.   This year the all day service fair took place at Public Auditorium in Downtown Cleveland.  This is the 22 year of this event that serves both veterans and non-veteran homeless people.  They served at least 1,200 people this year and around 200 of those individuals were veterans.  WKYC had a really nice report on the event both yesterday and today.  The Channel 3 story featured our own William Gilmore and our Street Voices speaker Don Messitt who have attended many of these events. (Update: Fox 8 also had a nice story about Don Messit.)   Handson Northeast Ohio took over the event two years ago and did a great job with the event.  Public Auditorium was a much bigger facility and was a better place to hold the event.  Parking was rough, but it was a great event.  Parking was probably rough because there were so many volunteers and social service providers present that it made such a great event for homeless people.  This was probably the largest medical support staff of any of the 21 previous Stand Downs. 

One of the most popular items was the portraits that the Cleveland Photographic Society take of homeless people.   This was probably the most well documented Stand Downs in our history with dozens of photographers at the event.  There was food donated, hygiene kits, job training, and a large number of services for veterans.  The donated items for veterans disappeared quickly because so many veterans showed up.   Larry Davis from NEOCH handled transportation, and there were dozens of vans transporting families, individuals and couples to Public Auditorium.  Handson is doing a mobile Stand Down over the next week delivering goods and services to people living in the shelters.  

Brian Davis

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One Step Closer to Health Coverage for Homeless People

A big victory for the uninsured in America today, and a big victory for homeless people.  Our own healthcare for the homeless in Cleveland, Care Alliance, serves nearly 10,000 people per year.  88% of their clients do not have any insurance, 9% have regular medicaid, and 2% have Medicare with only 1% having private health insurance.  Today the United States Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, which will allow thousands of homeless people in Cleveland to find a health care home in America. There will be thousands currently living in subsidized housing who will now have access to affordable health care.  This is great news.  Most in the anti-poverty movement would like to see universal single payer coverage like almost every other industrialized country in the world, but we can settle for a step closer to health care justice. 

What this means for the homeless community is that agencies such as Care Alliance, the Neighborhood Clinics will have more people covered by some form of insurance.  So, while 88% of Care Alliance's clients are not covered by insurance today, that could go down to 68% in 2014.  This would free up resources for the local agencies to provide more mental health services or alcohol and drug treatment or dental care.  Both behavioral health and dental care are huge gaps in services in our community.  Any additional dollars that these health care agencies can find reimbursement for will allow other local, state and federal dollars to fill in some of the holes in health care coverage.  The men who have diabetes or other chronic health conditions should be able to find help so they are not bankrupted by hospital bills.   Those who need medicine every day should be able to find a doctor to help.  Preventative care will be more accessible in our community.  States will be required to set up a health care exchange so that people will be able to buy affordable health care.  Most states have waited until the Supreme Court decided the case before setting up the health exchanges. 

It is a great day in the United States.

Brian Davis

OCHA Updates

OCHA is the Ohio Coalition of Homeless Advocates and we meet periodically in Columbus to discuss issues that might be important to the other cities.  Typically, we have Dayton, Appalachia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo represented.  Here are a few updates from the meeting this week.

Cincinnati

The Anna Louise Inn Shelter has been fighting to expand and was delivered a set back on Friday in their dispute with Western and Southern Financial Services. Anna Louise Inn is a battered women's shelter and home for recovering prostitutes, and has a desperate need to expand after a century of service.  After being in the same location for over 100 years, the place needs renovation and expansion.  The Union Bethel parent non-profit had raised the $12.4 million for the renovation and the City of Cincinnati had approved the expansion.  Western and Southern sued to stop the expansion, and proposed buying the facility.  For some reason the judge remanded the City to start the rezoning process over on the renovation.  Staff at Union Bethel have committed to continue the struggle.  They are convinced that this will take place, but it will just take longer. 

The Cincinnati Coalition published a report on the State of Family Homelessness in Cincinnati.  All the stats and recommendation can be found here.

Columbus

The City is struggling with diversion issues and central intake for single adults.  They have moved to only allowing people into the single adult shelters exclusively by phone.  The Faith Mission had been the central intake site, but found it too difficult to oversee.  Now, if you want shelter in Columbus, you have to call a number similar to 211 and they will direct you to a shelter.  This is a new system, but it is presenting some challenges for those who do not have access to a phone.  Diversion has been in place for a couple of years, and has raised some concerns by the advocates. 

Cleveland

We have to congratulate Care Alliance in Cuyahoga County for receiving a national award to improve their clinics. This $5.5 million in federal health care support will improve the Public Housing clinics that the agency administers.  They are going to begin a $3 million capital campaign to complete the renovations.   Care Alliance is the Health Care for the Homeless in Cleveland.  They have a beautiful facility over on St. Clair with amazing dental facilities.  We rely on their help with homeless outreach, because they can send medical personel out to help people.  Care Alliance has done an amazing rebound since the days when they were shedding their programs and closing down outreach in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  The current director, Francis and Linda before him have really moved the organization to a solid foundation.  This is great for Cleveland, and we hope that it will help them to be ready for the huge changes taking place in 2014 with the national health care reform. 

Brian Davis

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