MAYOR HARP ACCEPTS AWARD FROM NATIONAL HEALTH CARE FOR THE HOMELESS COUNCIL
(5/28/2014) New Haven – Mayor Toni N. Harp today received a prestigious Medical Respite Award for Excellence for her successful efforts to pilot in New Haven a homeless medical respite program. Mayor Harp received the award this afternoon in New Orleans, at a conference of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.
Mayor Harp, while still serving in the state Senate, introduced and won approval for legislation authorizing and financing a homeless medical respite program in New Haven. Columbus House administers the city’s program through a cooperative arrangement with the Yale-New Haven Hospital – it officially opened its doors October 7, 2013.
“The key elements of a homeless medical respite program include short-term shelter, access to skilled nursing and other medical care, and behavioral health services as needed for acutely ill, injured, and recuperating homeless residents,” Mayor Harp said. “The secure and structured environment we’ve created in New Haven gives respite staff the opportunity to provide primary medical care and earn the trust of homeless patients, so they in turn might be more willing to consider psychosocial assessments and additional case management services.”
Mayor Harp’s initiative for New Haven is the first program of its kind in Connecticut – with hopes it’ll serve as a national model for other programs in other cities working to break the ‘homeless – hospital – homeless’ repetitive cycle.
“We’ve been blessed with broad, local support for this effort, particularly from three venerable local institutions: New Haven-based Continuum of Care, the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center and Visiting Nurses of South Central Connecticut – all working in partnership with the Yale-New Haven Hospital – to help care for these indigent patients,” Mayor Harp said. “This ability to evaluate people as they’re treated for acute medical conditions can then lead to more permanent housing, ongoing substance abuse and mental health treatment if and as needed, and delivery of other applicable services.”
“I’m honored to accept this recognition on behalf of all those in New Haven working to address the vulnerability of those living without a place to call home,” Mayor Harp added.
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