Beyond Our Walls

Beyond Our Walls

Medical Center Reaches Out to Support Homeless
As part of a community partnership, UVM Medical Center has provided financial support for Harbor Place, a converted motel in Shelburne that provides temporary, emergency housing to guests who lack stable housing and connects them with social and health care services.

Medical Center Reaches Out to Support Homeless

Patient care isn't limited to the walls of our facilities and practices: It extends into our communities, throughout our households, and within the lives we touch. In an effort to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are discharged into environments that are conducive to healing, the University of Vermont Medical Center has forged partnerships with community organizations across Vermont to develop efficient and creative solutions for long-term, sustainable housing options.

A growing body of research indicates that safe, permanent housing leads to better health, but so many are caught in a crisis situation and need help right away. Starting in the fall of 2013, we granted $25,000 to Harbor Place, a motel that offers temporary, emergency housing and connects guests to case management and health care services to community members who lack stable housing. Since then, we've also paid for over 600 bed nights for patients.

Through partnerships and collaborations with community organizations, we’ve developed upstream approaches to combat the effects of poverty in Vermont. Over the past two years, we have supported an emergency warming shelter in Burlington through direct funding ($12,000 in 2014-15) and a daily linen service. Also under discussion is an effort, in collaboration with The Vermont Agency of Human Services, the Community Health Centers of Burlington and others, to develop a medical respite facility that will provide shelter and care for recently discharged patients needing safe housing options.

In the spring of 2015, we collaborated with the Champlain Housing Trust, Burlington Housing Authority, Safe Harbor Health Center's Homeless Healthcare Program and others to support Beacon Apartments, a permanent housing site that will provide apartments for chronically homeless adults.

"Without UVM Medical Center's active involvement and support, Harbor Place and Beacon Apartments would have simply been good ideas," said Margaret Bozik, associate director of Asset Management and Program Development for the Champlain Housing Trust. "The hospital's partnership helped turn these good ideas into critical emergency housing for hundreds of homeless Vermonters, and will now offer needed permanent housing at Beacon Apartments for those who need it most."

Housing is at the core of the social determinants of health. As we work with community organizations around the state, we hope to make leaps and bounds in developing solutions to these complex issues.