Beyond healthcare

2023: Beyond healthcare

Empowering our community in times of change

For many in New York City, the story of the year has been about the migrant crisis. For safety-net organizations such as us, it’s been a story about how to serve the myriad needs of displaced families. The newly arrived come to us for healthcare, but also for our “more than healthcare”: necessities such as food, clothing, diapers and help linking to what assistances they can tap, given their ineligibility for critical benefits such as Medicaid. We have seen families come in carrying all their possessions in bags, unsuitably dressed for colder temperatures and without the resources to equip themselves—clothing or otherwise—for winter. While we did not specifically track the patient origin, we knew at the height of the immigration this year, there was a 105% increase in patients whose first language is Spanish. This paralleled an intake rate of 37% uninsured patients. We connected the dots, and we connected these families to the sources they needed. We were grateful to partner with Care for the Homeless to receive a grant from the New York Community Trust that provided vaccinations for migrant children so they could enroll and stay in school. We hope work such as this—partnerships and programs that serve even our youngest patients—can go a long way to helping families thrive, regardless of immigration or insurance status.

The newly arrived come to us for healthcare, but also for our “more than healthcare”
The newly arrived come to us for healthcare, but also for our “more than healthcare”

Speaking of young people, we were thrilled to host 80 youth at Camp Rise Up, our annual leadership and life skills camp for kids living with homelessness, held at the end of each summer in upstate New York. The camp has grown from 26 campers six years ago to a fully developed program of essential adolescent health and social-emotional learning that includes two tracks for young people to train as counselors, leading to employment. We already have a wait list of those wanting this additional training and plan to accommodate 20 more campers. The camp is generously funded by private support.

Private support also helped us realize the optometry clinic we’ve long hoped to build into our comprehensive practice. Eyecare is an unmet need among those experiencing homelessness, with the cost of glasses unreachable to most. Now, with capital support from a long-time donor, the clinic is under construction, with plans to open in the spring with the ability to provide families with exams and glasses. The same foundation also provided funding for us to renovate an on-site clinic at a high-density family homeless shelter in Brooklyn, which will open in early 2024.

Funding from two local foundations supported our efforts to hire and retain behavioral health providers during an unprecedented national staff shortage. Operating at capacity allowed us to provide a continuum of trauma-informed care—a need that peaked during the pandemic—and reduce the list of patients waiting for the screenings that would help them establish treatment plans.

We accomplished so much in 2023 and could only have done so with a brilliant staff working on the ground to ensure every patient who comes to our clinic is welcomed and feels respected and valued. This “more than healthcare” approach has been our hallmark from our beginnings in 1866. We are proud that this remains our point of distinction among Federally Qualified Healthcare organizations in New York City.

For as much as we’ve done, there is still more to do. And we could not have done this, nor hope to do it in the future, without the backing—financial and otherwise—of our many supporters. We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a healthy 2024.

In gratitude,

Sean T. Granahan Esq.,

President and General Counsel

We give thanks to the following supporters for helping us meet the needs of New York City families living with homelessness in 2023:

  • Anonymous donor via Arabella Advisors
  • Bank of America Foundation
  • Cigna Foundation
  • Frances L. & Edwin L. Cummings Memorial Fund
  • Charles A. Frueauff Foundation
  • Hollister Confidence Fund
  • Hyde & Watson Foundation
  • Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation
  • New York Community Trust
  • Pfizer Foundation
  • UNFCU Foundation
  • van Ameringen Foundation
  • Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

This post is featured in our monthly newsletter from November/December 2023.

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Other posts from this newsletter:

A leading staff member pays it forward

News and events – November/December 2023

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The Floating Hospital provides high-quality healthcare to anyone who needs it regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, immigration or insurance status, or the ability to pay. By providing unrestricted medical care in tandem with health education and social support to vulnerable New York City families, The Floating Hospital aims to ensure those most in need have the ability to thrive, not just survive.


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