It is a great comfort to head home after a long day. Sometimes there’s a family to enjoy dinner with, sometimes there’s a great show to catch up on. Likely, for you and me, there is a dry roof and warmth to get through the night.
For an increasing number in Santa Clara County though, this is not reality. In just the last two years, the homeless count in the County has increased by 31%. The stories of those who are homeless are innumerable, their vulnerabilities are untold. How does our health system help this critical population?
We know that for many who are homeless, the healthcare system isn’t seen as a place for prevention, it is a last resort. But this model isn’t sustainable—for the health of the individual or for the County. What systems are in place to create the best health outcomes for those who are homeless?
You can trust that our health system means what it says. We serve everyone. No matter what. So that means we treat homeless individuals every day of the year for any health need. Period.
But you see, we can’t just patch up what’s immediately wrong and leave it be. With you by our side, we have made a deeper commitment to these patients. SCVMC believes that treating the whole person is the important work of our time. And you help us achieve this. Through one of our programs called “Whole Person Care”, a team of providers assesses the surrounding needs of a patient with complex issues and when the VMC Foundation can support them, your gifts allow us to be there.
Sometimes, the small things matter the most
Maria came across Whole Person Care’s radar because of how frequently she used emergency services to help her with health and behavioral health issues. Last winter, when Behavioral Health staff first reached out to her, she was living with her adult daughter in a rundown RV. The roof of the RV was leaking, causing mold and critter infestation – the situation was quite unsafe and exacerbated her health issues. Her housing was uninhabitable.
Working with Maria’s care team, the VMC Foundation was able to provide critical funding for a tarp and other survival items such as clean clothes and food. These “small things” matter because beyond meeting Maria’s basic needs and improving her living situation so she could more safely survive the winter, they helped build trust and rapport with Maria’s behavioral health team. And that trust and rapport led to her working with staff to get connected to resources to meet her critical needs — including housing.
Fast forward to May 2019, and Maria has officially moved into permanent supportive housing and can focus on achieving her health and wellness goals.
Maria’s story illustrates the powerful relationship between donor support and health outcomes for our homeless population. The issue is big and it is unyielding. But one thing we know is that this partnership is sacred. Our champions in the community, donors like you, make it possible for the VMC Foundation to bridge the gaps that can feel too big to bridge. Until together, we get it done.