Nancy Paladino
Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) terms its mission simple: to provide or assure access to the highest quality health care for all homeless men, women and children in the greater Boston area.

But it is this "simple" mission that for many homeless people is an invaluable service that ensures that not only do they and their children have access to health care but that they are also connected to resources and services that they might not have living in a shelter.

The 25-year old agency serves over 11,000 people a year and it is two stimulus grants that are helping them continue in their mission and help them do it better.

Recovery Act Impact: Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program

  • Increased Demand for Services: $238K

  • Helped fund two nurses

  • Increased services to eight new locations

  • Capital Improvement Program: $705K

  • Purchased new clinical equipment

  • Implemented technology upgrades

  • Acquired a reporting platform

  • Enhanced building's security features

"Stimulus had a huge impact," said Joslyn Allen, Director of Government Grants and Special Projects for BHCHP. "We were facing increased demand and we didn't have to limit what we could provide."

Boston Healthcare for the Homeless
BHCHP received two stimulus grants. The first grant -- $238K for an Increased Demand of Services -- enabled the Family Team program, which provides healthcare services specifically to children and their caretakers, to hire two nurses. This, in turn, enabled the program to expand. "We're housing more people in hotels and we needed more capacity," said Nancy Paladino, Director of the Family Team. "We weren't making do with the existing staff." Thanks to the new hires, the program was able to add eight new locations. "We were able to bring services where there otherwise would have been none," said Paladino.

This is significant as the nurses are often a family's main resource. According to Paladino, they are usually accompanied by a case manager and are "the first eyes and ears to come across something." They'll manage the health problem on the spot or advise a patient to go to the Emergency Room. They'll be the bridge between the family and their primary care provider. They'll provide vaccines and ensure that the families have access to food, clothing and diapers. "They make sure they're being cared for," said Paladino. "They make sure that just because they're homeless they're still receiving health care or anything that they would need."

BHCHP's second stimulus grant -- $705K for Capital Improvement Programs -

Boston Healthcare for the Homeless
enabled the agency to purchase equipment and repair and improve its infrastructure, essential projects, according to Allen, that it couldn't afford to do.

The agency was able to purchase clinical equipment - like new exam tables and vital signs machines - so it could do new procedures, increase its clinical capacity and elevate its level of care. It was also able to implement IT improvements such as ensuring that all providers have access to the electronic medical records, increasing its virtual server space, the acquisition of new software and acquiring a reporting platform so providers can monitor clinical quality.

The building's security features were enhanced thanks to the grant and emergency preparedness materials were acquired for use in public health and weather emergency situations. "We know the importance of all these things," said Allen. "Stimulus enabled us to keep up with the demand."