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Collaborative Launches to Address Health Needs of New Yorkers Experiencing Homelessness

Helmsley Charitable Trust supports NYC’s leading providers to improve the homeless healthcare system

New York, NY – January 28, 2019 – Today, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announces the launch of the Collaborative for Homeless Healthcare, a new coalition of healthcare providers serving New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. The NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and three leading healthcare providers who have an exclusive focus on homeless patients – Care for the Homeless, the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS), and Project Renewal – will work together to better address the unique needs of people experiencing homelessness in New York City.

In New York City, limited information-sharing and coordination makes continuity of care for homeless patients difficult. As a mobile population, patients travel among shelters, hospitals, and health social service providers that are not connected to each other. Over the next three years, the Collaborative will direct Helmsley resources to develop solutions to close this gap, build pathways to strengthen New York City’s homeless healthcare system, and improve patients’ health stability and well-being.

“Rooted in New York City, Helmsley is committed to helping our neighbors live healthier lives, and addressing systemic challenges is a priority for homeless New Yorkers,” said Tracy Perrizo, Program Officer at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “There is tremendous energy, experience, and unflagging commitment among these healthcare providers. This collaboration is poised to transform the homeless healthcare system and ensure better health outcomes for all who use it.”

For the roughly 60,000 New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and residing in NYCDHS shelters on any given night, health issues often lead to or prolong their housing instability. At the same time, individuals experiencing homelessness are among the highest users of healthcare services in the city.

Using shared metrics and goals, the Collaborative will develop new solutions to improve care coordination and implement upgrades that aim to benefit healthcare providers, DHS, and most importantly, the people they serve.

“Improving health outcomes among New Yorkers experiencing homelessness is our top priority, which is why we welcome this new partnership between the Department of Homeless Services and three of our dedicated not-for-profit providers, supported by the Helmsley Charitable Trust,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “The city’s comprehensive plan to address the citywide challenge of homelessness is built around preventing homelessness whenever we can, sheltering homeless New Yorkers closer to support networks, and increasing connections to services in the community, including healthcare, to preserve stability during challenging times. This collaborative will strengthen our ability to improve healthcare access and quality of care that all New Yorkers need as they stabilize their lives.”

“Care For the Homeless is proud to join colleague organizations, the Department of Homeless Services, and leaders from the New York City philanthropy community in the Collaborative for Homeless Healthcare. We are grateful for the chance to step back from our day-to-day work demands to address larger, system-level questions about how people experiencing homeless gain access to and benefit from high-quality healthcare,” said George Nashak, CEO of Care for the Homeless. “The Collaborative affords us the opportunity to engage in high-level planning with intelligent, committed partners and we are confident that this will result in significant improvements to our patients’ health outcomes.”

“Project Renewal is thrilled to be part of the Collaborative for Homeless Healthcare’s vital mission to improve the healthcare system for homeless New Yorkers. Each year, through substance use disorder treatment programs, medical clinics and mobile vans, and psychiatric services, Project Renewal provides healthcare to nearly 13,000 people who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless,” said Jody Rudin, COO of Project Renewal. “We look forward to working with our tremendous partners to provide coordinated, high-quality care that will bring wellness and stability to the lives of our patients and to all New Yorkers experiencing homelessness.”

“The challenge of being homeless and, in many cases, having a major mental illness compounded by serious physical health problems is hard to imagine, but hundreds of New Yorkers live that reality,” said Tony Hannigan, President and CEO of CUCS. “CUCS provides housing, training, and health and social services to over 50,000 people in New York City each year. We believe the Collaborative for Homeless Healthcare holds great promise for improvements.”

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning its active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s New York City Program funds efforts to improve the health and well-being of high-need New Yorkers. For more information, please visit helmsleytrust.org.