December 8, 2023

Multi-Partner Effort Tackling Homelessness Issues

MedStar scholarship

Multiple groups are coming together to provide medical respite services to St. Mary’s residents who are homeless.

Through a collaborative effort by Three Oaks Center, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services, and St. Mary’s County Health Department, participants in the medical respite program will have ongoing medical services after being discharged from the hospital. They will receive care coordination and temporary sheltering at Three Oaks Center in order to facilitate the medical services they need post-hospital discharge.

During this time, public agencies and community organizations will work together to help resolve some of the other factors contributing to the person’s homelessness. Participants are also able to take advantage of services now offered through the nearby St. Mary’s County Health Hub.

“The St. Mary’s County Department of Social Services is the county’s single point of entry for homeless services and is a key partner in the medical respite program. Caring for those without stable housing often involves assisting with the non-medical situations in their lives,” said Alexis Zoss, the Department of Social Services’ director. “Our DSS team provides case management as well as facilitation of a multi-disciplinary process to help resolve the complex social issues which affect these patients.”

“The collaboration we have built through the St. Mary’s County Health Hub is extending beyond walls to address the medical needs of persons experiencing homelessness in our community,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County health officer. “This multi-partner effort is a great example of our St. Mary’s County community coming together to take care of our neighbors in need.”

“The partnerships we have established and continue to nurture are the foundation we rely on to ensure the most vulnerable members of our community receive care with dignity,” said Sasha Seenath, executive director at Three Oaks Center. “Three Oaks Center’s Medical Respite Program cares for the homeless while they recover in a safe and healthy environment. Our goal is not to send individuals back into homelessness but to a stable housing environment. Together with the St Mary’s Health Hub and other partners, we work on bridging gaps to support those without a home while promoting a healthier community.”

“Without a safe place for them to go, these patients most likely would return to our hospital for readmission sicker than when they left due to lack of care,” said Brenda Wolcott, MPH, director of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospitals’ Population & Community Health Department. “These individuals are very grateful and appreciative of this program. It really is a community lift for many of these patients.”

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