Housing Works celebrated the newly renovated East New York Community Health Center with a hot-pink ribbon cutting and tour of the new facility.
About one-hundred Housing Works clients, staff, and community allies gathered outside the health center on Pitkin Avenue in East New York to celebrate the center's re-opening, which will now serve all people regardless of HIV status, a first for Housing Works' health service programs. The $500,000 renovation will more than double clients to reach 2,600 new users (about 10,552 medical visits annually), 80% who will be homeless.
"In order to accomplish our mission of ending the dual crises of HIV and homelessness, we need to be able to offer health care to people before they become HIV-positive," said Charles King, CEO of Housing Works, Inc. "We are happy that the East NY Community Health Center, now with its ability to serve people regardless of their HIV status, moves us one step further toward our mission."
In August 2011, Housing Works was one of six NYC health centers awarded a Human Resource & Service Administration (HRSA) grant as a New Access Point to provide comprehensive primary care services to the general community, specifically targeting the homeless community. The East New York site also became a Federal Qualified Health Center (FQHC), of which there are only two in East New York. The Affordable Care Act greatly expanded funding for FQHC's, for a total of $11 billion over five years to reach underserved, underinsured communities.
"We've been providing services to people with HIV in East New York since 1998," said Nadine Juste-Beckles, Executive Director of the East NY Community Health Center. "We will continue our commitment to a welcoming and compassionate environment, fostering trust in our patients. We want our clientele to feel empowered and make a solid and ongoing connection with our system of care."
Full-service dental care will be provided via referral to Housing Works Downtown Brooklyn Health Center. Mental health and substance use treatment services will include counseling and treatment, outpatient substance use services, in-house acupuncture and buprenorphine opioid treatment as well as referrals to residential programs. Patients will have access to transportation services to facilitate referrals and attendance at health care appointments. Ancillary services include nutrition counseling, translation services, and health education.
"Housing Works believes that all New Yorkers should have access to regular doctor visits," said Marylyn Martin-Naar, MD, Senior Vice President for Health Services and Chief Medical Officer with Housing Works. "We hope our expansion brings us closer to a larger community of people in need. We look forward to meeting many new faces."