Housing Is Health Care

(birds chirping) (solemn music) – I just don’t think people realize that it can happen to them. I think that’s the thing that gets missed. You know, it’s easy to
slip through the cracks, but once you’ve fallen through, I think people do not understand that it’s nearly impossible to crawl
back up through the cracks. It’s easy to stay down there. – We have a real problem
with chronic homelessness in Chittenden County and Vermont. Every single night, Vermonters
are sleeping in alleyways, in tent communities, this
happens in the winter time, when it’s 20 below zero,
they’re trying to manage every night having a warm place to stay, and when you’re focusing
on that, you really can’t focus on anything else,
including your health. – If we don’t meet their needs,
I think we risk more harm being done to individuals
in the community as a whole. So, I think it’s actually
in our interest to try to address these needs
in a constructive way. – I’ve been clean and sober for 24 years, I worked everyday, as a mechanic mostly, then the electronics. I learned about computers and networks, and that led me to a job
in the security industry. – People just have to look
and see, that in fact, their lives, those people are there. And understand that they didn’t get there just because they made a
bad choice, but usually for a wider range of reasons, and we just need to give
them a hand to get out of that situation, to
having a more positive life. (thundering) – Hi, my name’s Kate
Hanson, and I’m an outreach caseworker at Safe Harbor Health Center, here in Burlington, Vermont. We’re a homeless health care program, and part of my job is
coming out to campsites, and reaching out to folks who
might be in need of services. We’re off of Pine Street in Burlington, at an abandoned camp. I know that a lot of people down here had been clients of Safe
Harbor’s, mostly individuals, adults with disabilities, and some of our most
vulnerable community members. – When you live outside, you
know, where’s the toilet? You can’t collect any
clothing and store it. You can’t collect food,
store it, and cook it. – In the emergency department,
we see the full spectrum of illness for homeless population. Everything from, it’s really cold outside, I don’t have a warm place
to stay, up through people with medical conditions, such as diabetes, who are in acute crisis,
because the place that they’re staying, a tent,
doesn’t allow them to give themselves even simple care things, that would prevent them from getting ill. Hugely expensive, at any
one time we can have as many as 20 to 30 patients in the hospital, who no longer need in
patient medical care, but there’s no safe place to send them. – Those folks are going
to show up with police, they’re going to show up in courts, they’re going to show up at the hospital, and their cost is going to
be extraordinarily high. – Life is, for a lot of the
folks here at these sites, is surviving, and just trying to get through to the next day. Housing is healthcare, if
you don’t have housing, you can’t really work on
any of the other things in your life, so integrating
this housing piece, into healthcare, and into all sorts of, just looking at the
person as a whole person, and serving a person as a whole person. Housing has to be a part of that. (light piano music) – Having a base of operation
makes everything else possible. Thankfully, I now have a place to live. I can get a bicycle, I can store it there. I all ready have an extra pair of shoes, well, when I was camping, I
didn’t have any extra shoes. Where you going to keep them? But all of those little
things can start to collect. So, now I want to stick with that plan, because it seems a little overwhelming. – Just the food stamps? – It makes it easy, for
now, I’m just concentrating on making appointments with case managers, maintaining my appointments
with my doctor. – Good to see you man. – Yeah, thank you, how you been? – Not bad, how have you been? – If you can get them to
a place where they get all that support, and get it
on a more regular basis, it’s going to cost everyone a lot less. – [Doctor] Now take a
couple of big, deep breaths. – It’s like an ounce of prevention. – Your lungs sounded
pretty good, actually. – It’s really complex, and
these kinds of projects really don’t work if any one organization, or any one sector, tries to do it alone. And the beauty of this
project was that the housing came with wraparound
supports, and that’s really where, I think, we’re seeing the impact. Our work is not done,
we will continue to need cross sector collaboration,
and cross sector investment, so that we can achieve
a goal of really having homelessness be very
short, very temporary, and that people actually have safe, stable places to live in our community. – More than anything else, it’s kind of been a spiritual adventure. Most of the homeless
people, one way or another, are just trying to resolve
the riddle of their life. Everyday you wake up with nothing, that’s not an easy thing
for a person with no shoes, to just do a 180, and pull
himself up by his boot straps. – A lot of people have given up. We just stay out in the tents communities, because they’ve tried in the past and not gotten any success. They know now that there are opportunities for people to be housed, they’ve seen it, they’ve seen some of
their friends get housing. – We have seen remarkable success, and it’s really a testament,
I think, to the relationships, and the trust, and the
collaboration across all of the partners in this project, that has really made it a success, and really a joy to be part of. – It’s a game changer, because
having a place to live, I’m starting to feel more secure that this is going to work out for me long term, and I’ll end up with some part time work. There’s a couple of things
that I’d like to do. There’s a lot of options,
once I settle in, and get used to taking
care of myself in this way. (light inspiring music)

2 Replies to “Housing Is Health Care”

  1. I live by myself in one bed room apartment if there is one lady trustable and is homeless; I don't mind to share my room with her; I just need inform my landlord.

  2. How ironic that the ONE PLACE that's help gentrify BURLINGTON proper puts up this video, smacks of facist propaganda!!!!!! Teaching school my azz, u can't take care of ur staff. Nor can u offer diligent healthcare! Lived here my entire life, ANY native Vermonter who has been paying attention will tell you……GO TO DARTMOUTH! FLETCHER ALLEN IS TRASH! RUN BY TRASH WITH CORPORATE MINDSETS

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