Serving Individuals in Public Housing
Even for those who are able to evade homelessness by residing in public housing, poverty, isolation and barriers to self-sufficiency often dominate their lives. Access to quality health care for those in public housing can reduce each of those barriers.
To address the unique and often severe health care needs of these groups, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Primary Health Care has a special focus within the community health center program for Public Housing Primary Care.
In Cuyahoga County, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) serves 52,000 individuals making it one of the ten largest housing authorities in the country. To address the health disparities facing this population and provide a link between homelessness and housing, Care Alliance became a grantee of the Public Housing Primary Care Program in 1998. Care Alliance now operates two clinics in the heart of public housing estates on the near east and west sides of the city.
In 2010, nearly 30 percent of our total patient base, or 2,600 individuals, were residing in or around public housing in the greater Cleveland area.
To address the wariness that public housing residents may feel toward entering a formal clinic setting to receive health care, Care Alliance engages its public housing advisory board to elicit suggestions for raising awareness about our services and ensuring those services appropriately meet their community’s needs. The members of the public housing advisory board also act as ambassadors for Care Alliance as they attend community meetings, engage friends and neighbors and direct fellow residents into care.