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University of Rochester Medical Center Aids Homeless Patients

Transitional supportive housing for hospitalized individuals experiencing homelessness or inadequate housing is not easily accessible to those with minimal resources. Hoping to assist their patients facing these conditions, University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) created a program to care for homeless patients.

Partnering with DePaul Community Services, URMC secured hospital funding and collaborated with their home care agency to provide a transition from the hospital to the community for high-risk populations. Hopelink at Shelter Cove opened in January 2016. It features eight bedrooms and is equipped with a handicap-accessible ramp and stair lift. It is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days a week by DePaul’s housing specialists. DePaul staff provide meals, coordination and transportation to appointments, housekeeping, laundry, and linkages to more permanent resources while URMC pays rent and space costs.

From January 2016 through March 2018, 158 patients were referred to Hopelink and 96 of those accepted. The average hospital length of stay for accepted patients is 20 days compared with the average length of stay at Hopelink of 51 days. Of the patients who left Hopelink, 61% have secured long-term housing.

For more information, contact Kelly Luther, Director of Social Work and Patient and Family Services, University of Rochester Medical Center, at kelly_luther@urmc.rochester.edu.

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