Monday, October 06, 2014

Reaching Out

Every morning I search Google News for articles on “Transgender” and sometimes I am surprised at what I find. Many times it is just one topic, for example when Laverne Cox was on the cover of Time Magazine it seemed like all the stories were about her or when Fallon Fox the mixed martial artist started fighting in the women’s league it was hard to find other topics to write about.

This morning’s search brought up a number of interesting news articles and one caught my attention,
The surprising Obamacare experiment that saved taxpayers $24 ...
Washington Post-15 minutes ago
Two patients received their first set of house keys ever: a 26-year-old transgender woman, whose grandmother kicked her out as a child, and a 31-year-old man ...
So I clicked on the article to see if I could use it this morning’s blog and when I started to read it I found that it had only one paragraph about “transgender” but it was the rest of the article that I found interesting.

When I knew that they were closing down the factory where I worked for 28 years I knew that I wanted to help the trans-community in my retirement in some way. It was that desire that lead me to become a social worker, and that was what the article in the Washington Post was about.
NEW YORK — The social worker pulls on blue latex gloves and a surgical face mask. She steps into the hospital room, where sheer curtains dim the September afternoon sunlight.

James Watley, 53, sits upright in bed, recovering from a bone marrow transplant. He’s sipping ginger ale through a straw. An orange rests at his hip, as though he’s guarding it.
[…]
He came here from a Brooklyn homeless shelter, where his oxygen tank was considered a fire hazard. It’s at least an hour by subway from the Montefiore Medical Center in the Northwest Bronx, where he receives treatment for blood cancer. Last time, he fainted on the train.

Deirdre Sekulic, 42, doesn’t argue. Her job is guided by one belief: Sick people with no home cannot heal. Moral implications aside, that’s an expensive problem for the nation.
It doesn’t matter if the social worker is a therapist or a case worker or a community organizer like me,  we are there to guide, not lead. If your therapist is leading you or telling what you should do instead of guiding you, get another therapist. If your case working is leading you instead of talking over your options and helping you to decide which is best for you and then helping you to reach your goals (as long as it is not harmful to you or to others or it is not court ordered), get another case worker.

The article goes on to say,
Housing, one of the newest initiatives here, takes this idea a step further. Montefiore has housed only two patients, but it plans to push for more.
[…]
This year, Sekulic secured two apartments, funded partly by Medicaid. Two patients received their first set of house keys ever: a 26-year-old transgender woman, whose grandmother kicked her out as a child, and a 31-year-old man who slept on the streets before unchecked diabetes rendered him half-blind.
For the last year I have been working with other people to see if we could start a resident home for trans-people, but now after a year of trying to get funding for what we are calling “Celebration Home” I think that there is a better way which is to secure individual housing from us.
The biggest challenge, she said, is signing the lease. That’s because the Bronx has about 8,000 supportive-housing units — and thousands more New Yorkers from all five boroughs are vying for them.

On Christmas Eve, Sekulic rushed to a Harlem agency to sign for the 26-year-old transgender woman, her first patient housed. The patient’s ER trips since dipped from nearly 50 in 2013 to just one this year, to patch an accidental wrist cut.
The main problem is that the waiting list for Section 8 housing is long and it is hard for find affordable housing. So they have to couch surf with friends or go to a homeless shelter.

But as the article points out it actually saves money in finding housing for the homeless because it cuts medical cost. When you have a roof over your head and getting timely preventative healthcare it improves the quality of life for them

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