Housing First, Health Follows

Mark, 3rd from right, with his Pathway Recuperative Care community of friends.
Mark, 3rd from right, with his Pathway Recuperative Care community of friends.

A car accident a few years ago left Mark with a traumatic brain injury. The young man has since battled with substance abuse, lingering health issues and homelessness. When our partner hospital felt he would recover more effectively in recuperative care than on the streets, he was discharged to National Health Foundation’s (NHF) Pathway Recuperative Care. Thanks to Pathway Recuperative Care’s ‘Housing First’ philosophy, Mark is now transitioning to a sustainable living situation.

Pathway Recuperative Care’s ‘Housing First’ philosophy is anchored in the concept that for an individual to truly achieve health, they need to have a stable living situation. “Housing is Health is our motto and study after study has proven that health improves with sustainable, safe housing,” shared Kelly Bruno Nelson, NHF CEO and President, “the challenge to meet acute health and housing needs upon discharge from the hospital requires a dedicated team and time.”

For any individual who is struggling with health issues, the goal is for that individual to be heard. In Mark’s case this was more challenging but Pathway Recuperative Care staff quickly engaged him in writing notes, pointing to objects and acting out scenarios to understand his wishes and needs. Within 3 months, staff had successfully worked with Mark to replace a lost DMV identification card. With ID in place, Mark could work with Social Security to have his benefits awarded and back pay reinstated. He attended all his follow-up medical appointments and explored all the housing options available to him. After several interviews and tours, he settled on a sober living house.

“It’s easy to see how someone like Mark could slip through the cracks. He is nonverbal and dealing with multiple health issues while being homeless. Having a place to call home for the past 3 months has helped Mark gain health and confidence. Knowing that he is now transitioning to a sober living home in Los Angeles gives our whole team something to smile about,” said Bruno Nelson.

While he will be missed at Pathway Recuperative Care, Mark is an integral part of the greater recuperative care story. For everyone who was served by the recuperative care model, we have one more individual who is now home.