United Health Foundation, Partnership for Strong Communities to Expand Program Connecting Health Services and Housing for People Struggling with Homelessness

  • $300,000 grant by United Health Foundation to help Partnership
    for Strong Communities expand the Opening Doors-CT Hospital
    Initiative, coordinating a network of Community Care Teams in
  • CCTs focus on identifying people with complex health and social
    issues who are frequent users of hospital emergency department
    services, and connecting them to housing and other services
  • 40 percent of frequent visitors to emergency rooms in
    Connecticut are homeless or suffering from housing insecurity

HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–United Health Foundation today donated $300,000 to help Partnership for
Strong Communities (PSC) expand the Opening Doors-CT Hospital
Initiative, coordinating a network of Community Care Teams (CCTs) in
five additional Connecticut hospitals by the end of 2017.

The grant supports the Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative, which works
to connect people experiencing homelessness who are frequent users of
hospital emergency departments with housing and other services. An early
study by the Initiative showed that 40 percent of frequent visitors to
emergency departments are homeless or struggle with housing insecurity.
Though homelessness in Connecticut has decreased in recent years, in
2015 there were nearly 11,000 people struggling with homelessness
throughout the state, according to the Connecticut Homelessness
Management Information System (HMIS).

The Initiative assists in coordinating CCTs, which are teams of health
care, housing and social service providers who work together to identify
people with complex health and social issues who frequently use hospital
emergency departments in order to access primary health care services.
CCTs connect people to housing and other much-needed services, help care
providers create flexible and individualized care plans for clients, and
enhance ownership of patient care by hospital staff.

The Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative, led by PSC and the Connecticut
Hospital Association, began in 2014 with four CCTs operating in five
hospitals across the state. A core component of the expansion will
include establishing a Learning Collaborative with key partners to share
best practices, developing online resources, and a qualitative and
quantitative program analysis.

Terri DiPietro, a CCT member at Middlesex Hospital, sees firsthand the
difference they are making in their community. “All of us, from hospital
staff and housing providers to mental health professionals, are able to
coordinate and make sure a patient is getting services and not falling
through the cracks of the system. By meeting regularly to discuss cases
and communicating vital health data in a timely manner, we can work
together to make sure a client has everything he or she needs to

The grant announcement was made during the final forum in PSC’s annual
IForum series, sponsored by United Health Foundation. The final forum
brought together approximately 150 community leaders, including
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, homeless advocates and health care
professionals to discuss innovative ways to increase access to care.

“Through the work of so many community-based organizations and partners
like United Health Foundation, we are working to bring more care and
support to people who need it most,” said Gov. Malloy. “We’ve set high
goals to end homelessness, and it is through programs and partnerships
like this that we are delivering real progress.”

“Stable housing is a key component to reducing the number of emergency
department visits, because without a safe, secure home to go to after
hospitalization or treatment, people cannot recover and get back on
their feet,” said Alicia Woodsby, executive director, Partnership for
Strong Communities. “This initiative, supported through the generosity
of partners like United Health Foundation, will provide valuable
resources to expand the reach of CCTs and improve the care for our most
vulnerable populations.”

“Expanding this program with the help of the Opening Doors-CT Hospital
Initiative will help provide care for the thousands of men and women
throughout Connecticut who are struggling with homelessness and health
care,” said Tina Brown-Stevenson, United Health Foundation board member.
“United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support
area hospitals and the networks of people and services throughout
Connecticut who are helping to care for our most vulnerable.”

About Partnership for Strong Communities
The Partnership for
Strong Communities is a statewide nonprofit policy and advocacy
organization dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness, expanding
the creation of affordable housing, and building strong communities in
Connecticut. Learn more at www.pschousing.org.

About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with
community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health
Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and
dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local
communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth
Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation
dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health
Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and
communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at www.unitedhealthfoundation.org
or follow @UHGGives on Twitter or Facebook.com/UHGGives.

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Partnership for Strong Communities
Wendy Kohn, 860-244-0066
Health Foundation

L.D. Platt, 202-654-8830