WakeMed Health & Hospitals has received a $466,510 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation to improve the lives of mentally ill homeless men and women in the greater Wake County area. The three-year grant will be used to coordinate care and provide support services that may result in stability for 150 program participants per year.
To accomplish this goal, WakeMed, as the lead agency, will work in collaboration with the Wake Crisis Cooperative, Capital Care Collaborative, Wake County Human Services, Henry Clark Grew Fund, South Wilmington Street Shelter, Helen Wright Center, Raleigh Police Department, Alliance Behavioral Services, Raleigh Rescue Mission, Easter Seals, Horizon Health Center, and Cornerstone Center.
“Lack of stable housing, limited access to transportation, poor recognition of their mental illness, and cognitive impairments all prevent homeless individuals from seeking and receiving appropriate treatment,” commented Jim Hartye, MD, WakeMed medical director of clinical resource management and a provider for Wake Health Services’ Horizon Healthcare for the Homeless program. “This project will reduce those barriers and engage homeless mentally ill using a community-based model that brings together law enforcement, healthcare providers, shelters, and other organizations.”
Dr. Hartye continued, “We are committed to improving the lives of homeless mentally ill and will engage as many individuals as possible, conduct screenings, and invite them to enroll in our program or link them to other community services providers as needed. Those individuals who are willing to accept assistance and treatment through our program will receive medical and psychiatric treatment, room and board when appropriate, assistance with qualifying for Social Security Supplemental Security Income financial support, assistance with procurement of long-term housing, and ongoing, integrated support services.”
According to “Wake County: The 10-Year Action Plan 2006 Annual Report,” which conducted a point-in-time survey, approximately 1,200 individuals are homeless each night in the greater Raleigh area. Of these individuals, 45 percent have significant mental illness. However, the true need is likely higher.