At this time of the year, we often think of the things we are grateful for. Perhaps it’s our health or the blessings in our lives or maybe it’s the warmth and support of home and family. These thoughts fill our minds with fond memories, giving deeper meaning to the phrase, “there’s no place like home.”
However, what if you didn’t have a home? What if your family gave up on you…or worse, you have given up on yourself? What if your health is continuing to decline and you do not have access to health care services? Your mind may be filled with thoughts of hopelessness and despair. You feel like there is no place left to turn and life centers on day to day existence.
We often ask ourselves, how does this happen? Do people choose to be homeless?
What is being done to address the lives of these individuals?
I can tell you for the majority of people who find themselves homeless it is because of unforeseen circumstances such as a job loss or illness. Many people are only a paycheck or two away from being homeless. A catastrophic illness can wipe out a family’s savings in a short time and without adequate health care, the results can be devastating. At Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. (HCCH), we are also finding a surprising number of single women and children experiencing homelessness.
I can guarantee that these children did not choose to be homeless. Is this the childhood we want our children to have?
The individuals that cross the threshold at our health centers, Orange Blossom Family Health, may be homeless, feeling isolated and alone and possibly living in the woods or on the streets. Many of our patients are housed but have lacked access to health care services. They struggle and often feel like they are fighting a losing battle. Some of our patients have behavioral health and substance abuse issues, often suffering from self-alienation and depression. At Orange Blossom Family Health, we see individuals with poor or declining health who have tried to manage their chronic illnesses without the benefit of professional medical care.
Each day, we witness our patients’ pain and suffering and listen to their words of despair. We look into the eyes of those we serve and see the faces of men, women and children in need. For the Care Team at HCCH, these are memories that are etched into our collective consciousness.
Even though we are highly successful at helping patients in need of health care services, the need often outweighs our resources.
At the beginning, we mentioned the things we are grateful for. Why not add helping a patient obtain the health care services they need to your list? Knowing that you were able to share your resources to make a difference in someone’s life is its own reward.
At Health Care Center for the Homeless, we are reaching out to offer hope and a solution to meet the health care needs of the homeless and housed but uninsured.
Through our centers, Orange Blossom Family Health, we are providing primary and preventive medical care; oral health services; behavioral health and substance abuse counseling; vision services; HIV testing; an onsite pharmacy; a residential TB Shelter; and an aggressive street outreach team – the HOPE Team. This is our team that works with unsheltered individuals living in the woods and on the streets.
Last year at Orange Blossom Family Health, through our main location and our satellite sites, we served over 15,000 unduplicated patients.
We have helped our patients return to better health, gain self-insights to make better life choices and become more self-sufficient. Of these patients, roughly 70% of them were uninsured and most of our patients were unable to qualify for the Affordable Care Act coverage due to low income.
Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. is celebrating over 22 years of service to the Central Florida community. In part, we owe our longevity to our supporters who have been helping our patients since our founding in 1993. At HCCH, we have always taken a holistic approach, seeking to address the body as a whole and improve the overall health of our patients through education and involving them in managing their own care.
We at HCCH are grateful for so many things: our ability to help individuals receive the quality health care services they need; our staff who understand the need in the community; and our providers who are undaunted in their approach in creating a health care home for our patients. We are thankful for our supporters who share their time, talent and treasure to give TODAY so our patients will have a healthier TOMORROW.
We wish you all the joy this season has to offer. May you always be grateful for the blessings you have received and for the ability to give from your heart to make a difference in our community.
If you have been a past supporter, current supporter or have never given to HCCH we hope you will consider a gift this holiday season. Your generosity will help us to provide quality health care services for our homeless and housed but uninsured neighbors.
You Can Donate Now by Clicking on the link below: