A homeless man in a Superman t-shirt sits outside of the old courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

Father Joe’s Villages Thursday announced an initiative with UnitedHealthcare to support the organization’s Recuperative Care Program, which provides people who are experiencing homelessness with temporary shelter following a hospital discharge.

This is intended to improve access for homelessness neighbors who need additional care and shelter.

Father Joe’s Villages — San Diego’s largest homeless services provider — also received a $21,000 grant from UnitedHealthcare as part of the initiative to support necessary operational expenses, including information technology cybersecurity improvements.

According to the homeless services provider, the majority of San Diego’s homeless population experience significant medical challenges while living on the streets. According to the 2020 WeAllCount Annual Report by the Regional Task Force on Homelessness, 58% of San Diego’s homeless population have a physical disability, a chronic health condition and/or a mental health issue.

“Our neighbors experiencing homelessness often lack safe, secure places where they can continue healing after leaving the hospital,” said Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages.

“Programs like the Recuperative Care Program are more than a pathway to a warm meal or a home,” Vargas said. “They’re also pathways to restoring essential dignity and achieving long-term success.”

People facing housing and/or income insecurities routinely encounter barriers that impact their ability to recover from a major medical event, such as a recent illness or surgery. Such barriers may include a lack of safe places to safely recover or limited access to necessary medications. With the growing Recuperative Care Program, Father Joe’s Villages aims to address one of the largest challenges faced by neighbors who experience homelessness.

“Being discharged from a hospital can be an uneasy and uncertain experience for anyone, but for San Diegans experiencing homelessness, there are additional barriers to basic needs like shelter, food and water, that are needed to support a full medical recovery,” said Kevin Kandalaft, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of California. “In addition, for those experiencing homelessness, nearly three-quarters have at least one unmet health need.

“We are proud to support Father Joe’s Villages’ Recuperative Care Program to provide needed shelter, medical recovery resources and case management services to those in need,” he said.

–CityNews Service

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