Interview with Tina Brown-Stevenson, United Health Foundation board member, discussing the grant to expand the Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative. (Video: Wendy Kohn)
In Connecticut, United Health Foundation has partnered with Partnership for Strong Communities (PSC), a statewide nonprofit policy and advocacy organization dedicated to expanding the creation of affordable housing and preventing and ending homelessness throughout the state. With a $300,000 partnership grant, United Health Foundation is helping PSC expand their Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative that works to assist people experiencing homelessness by connecting them with housing and other services. The grant is also helping the Initiative add five Community Care Teams (CCTs) to local Connecticut hospitals.
CCTs 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 to access primary health 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 this issue throughout the state, according to the Connecticut Homelessness Management Information System. Investing in CCTs will make the Initiative more effective, and will enable more people in Connecticut struggling with housing instability to access consistent, personalized care.
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 and developing online resources and a qualitative and quantitative program analysis.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy speaks during a forum on homelessness where United Health Foundation announced a grant to expand the Opening Doors-CT Hospital Initiative that works to connect people experiencing homelessness who are frequent users of hospital emergency departments with housing and other services. (Photo: Alan Grant)