In 1984, The Robert Wood Johnson foundation and pew charitable trusts, in conjunction with the U.S conference of mayors, established the national healthcare for the homeless council.
A year later, a group of New York City homeless service providers and advocates held a meeting to respond to the proposal. There, they developed a plan to bring medical, mental health, and social services to individuals experiencing homelessness in their city.
However, this was only the first step. Based on their experience, the planners knew that people experiencing homelessness are often wary of judgement and being turned away by providers, consequently making them averse to accepting care. These legitimate concerns are especially true for those who are uninsured, have chronic conditions, struggle with substance abuse, and suffer from mental illness.
Avoiding care permits debilitating illnesses and chronic conditions to worsen and subsequently, prolong homelessness.
Therefore, building strong relationships with patients based on trust, fair treatment, and mutual respect, became a permanent tenet of our person-centered health care model. Striving to understand the unique and complex story of each individual patient, lets them know that they are heard, validated, and supported.
Our experiences over the past 35+ years have proven that prioritizing excellence in our services and in the ways our providers work with our patients, gradually allows people who have already been through so much, to trust again and have agency in their health care.