December 20, 2021 Healthy Living

Keeping People at Home for the Holidays

Losing a parent is tough for anybody, but the pain was especially deep for Maureen, a resident of East Greenbush, whose mother also happened to be her roommate. Maureen had lived in her mother’s home for the past several years, but after her sudden death in 2020, and since her mom was the primary rent and bill payer, she was worried she’d also be losing the roof over her head.

“I was referred to Joseph’s House & Shelter in Troy for a shelter bed,” Maureen said. “There wasn’t much more that could be done. I could not afford the rent on my social security payments alone.”

But when Maureen, who has faced some physical and mental health challenges, called Joseph’s House & Shelter, the response was much different than she had imagined. Homelessness diversion advocate Emani Anderson started to ask her about her story, which Maureen willingly shared with her.

It quickly became clear to Emani that Maureen didn’t need a shelter bed. She just needed a helping hand.

Emani got to work seeking out a smaller, more affordable apartment for Maureen to move into. As these types of dwellings are hard to come by these days, Maureen was overcome with emotion when Emani let her know that she had found her a new home.

“I just couldn’t believe it when she told me, and now I am so happy here in my new place. Emani regularly checks up on me, too, and asks if I need anything, even just soap or toothpaste. It’s incredible,” said Maureen.

CDPHP® is proud to support Joseph’s House & Shelter’s homelessness diversion program. The intent of diversion is to offer a positive alternative to entering emergency shelter or being unsheltered. Even for an organization as well run as Joseph’s House & Shelter, clients understandably prefer to be in housing, and stable housing is more likely to improve their overall well-being. As CDPHP has learned from studying the social determinants of health over the last several years, being unsheltered carries a high risk of negative health outcomes.

Diversion also reserves shelter beds for those who truly need them. Though there are expenses associated with helping clients get back on their feet, it is significantly less costly, on average, than a shelter stay. Notably, diversion also avoids the emergency-related costs of unsheltered homelessness, including ambulance use and ER visits, sanitation, and more.

“Through this partnership with CDPHP, we’re finding that a lot of people don’t need a shelter bed. They just need someone to listen to what they’re going through and offer ways to support them during a particularly difficult season of their lives,” said Emani. “The truth is, we could all be one big car repair bill or major appliance issue away from needing some help. This program seeks to do exactly that.”

As we brace ourselves for another long upstate New York state winter, Joseph’s House & Shelter is anticipating an increase in calls and the need to help some of the area’s most vulnerable individuals. Please consider supporting their efforts and the homelessness diversion program this holiday season.

Natalia Burkart
About the Author

Natalia joined CDPHP in 2015 as a communications writer/editor and currently serves as director, communications strategy. Born and raised in the Capital Region, Natalia earned a BS in marketing and management from Siena College and an MBA from Union Graduate College (now Clarkson University). A self-professed news junkie and lover of iced coffee, Natalia currently resides in North Greenbush with her husband and two kids.

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