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“Our Mission calls us to care for the poor and vulnerable. Shared values of compassion, dignity, justice, excellence, and integrity guide each of our sacred encounters with our patients. Our commitment to the Healthy Housing Initiative extends our sacred encounters beyond the walls of our hospitals and clinics into our communities.”

Lisa Vance
Chief Executive, Providence Health & Services Oregon

 

The Healthy Housing Initiative elevates Providence’s ongoing commitment to ending homelessness and invites other health care providers in Portland and throughout Oregon to join us.

In 2018, Providence’s eight hospitals in Oregon cared for more than 1,500 patients who reported they were homeless. Many of these men, women, and children, however, returned to the streets once they were well enough to leave the hospital. Wet pavement, cold cars, or tents tucked into bushes are never sustainable options for people struggling with health issues.

A drawing of a medical professional interacting with a patient
The connection between affordable housing and access to health care is undeniable.

Permanent housing leads to:

• Fewer emergency department visits
• Better connection to primary care
• Improved access and quality of care

We are most successful when we care for the whole person. Serving our most vulnerable patients means providing primary care, mental health services, transportation to appointments, or access to addiction support groups.

Our Objectives Are Clear.
  • Decrease hospital readmission rates for newly-housed residents by at least 50%.
  • Connect 100% of residents with primary care and behavioral health services within five years.

Wrapping Johnnie in Support

Johnnie was homeless for nearly five years. He battled chronic health problems, most significantly heart failure. Every night as he slipped into his sleeping bag tucked into bushes or underneath trees, he felt unsure of what might happen to him as he slept.

Not having a home compounded his health issues. Johnnie was in and out of the emergency room and hospital often. During one stay, a representative of Providence’s Better Outcomes through Bridges (BOB) initiative met with him. BOB is a collection of programs that serve our most vulnerable patients by providing wraparound services to meet a variety of needs. The BOB representatives worked with community partners to find housing for Johnnie, brought him to medical appointments, and made sure he received his medication. Perhaps most importantly, BOB team members developed a relationship with Johnnie, listening to his worries and caring for his needs. Ultimately, living in a home and having access to support services helped stabilize Johnnie’s life and health.

BOB team members include peer supporters who have experienced homelessness themselves. Understanding that hardship allows them to connect in a unique way with patients struggling with housing and health challenges. Being able to say, “I’ve been there, I can help” builds a bridge that can lead to a new life for our most vulnerable community members.

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