A Safe Haven Opens First Homeless Isolation Space in Collaboration with City of Chicago, Rush University System for Health and Heartland Alliance

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A Safe Haven (ASH), a 25-year-old nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless, is proud to announce the opening of the first Homeless COVID-19 Positive Isolation Space that will be based on one of Chicago’s hardest hit communities in partnership and collaboration with the City of Chicago, Rush University System for Health and Heartland Alliance.

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"The ASH Isolation Space will help serve as a one of a kind and fast response delivery system to help the homeless get the help and the support they need to help them overcome their COVID-19 diagnosis.”

While many are staying home under the shelter in place order given by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to stop the spread of the COVID-19, those who are homeless have no place to go to ensure their health and safety.

A Safe Haven (ASH), a 25-year-old nonprofit dedicated to helping the homeless, is proud to announce the opening of the first Homeless COVID-19 Positive Isolation Space that will be based on one of Chicago’s hardest hit communities in partnership and collaboration with the City of Chicago, Rush University System for Health and Heartland Alliance. The ASH COVID-19 Isolation Space will be located in a dedicated wing of the A Safe Haven flagship location located in North Lawndale community. It will provide 100 beds for COVID-19 positive homeless patients who may be asymptomatic or exhibiting mild symptoms, but not deemed too sick to be in a hospital.

The innovative and vertically integrated model will provide a unique, robust and comprehensive institutional healthcare to community based behavioral healthcare delivery system that includes both in person health and behavioral health monitoring as well as tele health and tele behavioral healthcare services for the patients.

“At A Safe Haven we are humbled and honored to have been working with Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s leadership teams of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Manager, Rush University System for Health and Rush University College of Nursing, and Heartland Alliance,“ said ASH President and Co-Founder Neli Vazquez Rowland. “The ASH Isolation Space will help serve as a one of a kind and fast response delivery system to help the homeless get the help and the support they need to help them overcome their COVID-19 diagnosis.”

To get access to the A Safe Haven Isolation Space, hospitals and homeless providers from across the Chicagoland area are directed to contact the Chicago Department of Public Health. Upon verification and prequalification of referrals Rush and ASH will take in referrals and provide transportation, based on availability.

“The opening of this facility is an essential part of the city-wide effort to flatten the curve,” said Dr. Omar Lateef, president and chief executive officer of Rush University Medical Center. “The greatest strength of our healthcare community is its deep commitment to the health and well-being of the City of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations. Collaborations like this can be a model, not only in a pandemic, but for many of the public health challenges facing homeless populations across the country.”

Rowland explained that the power of this important collaboration and partnership with the City of Chicago, Rush University System for Health, Rush University, and Heartland Alliance is closing a gap and adding another level of care at ASH with this COVID-19 Isolation Space, led by the Rush University College of Nursing Office of Faculty Practice.

“Today, throughout our system A Safe Haven provides shelter, services and appropriate accommodations for non-COVID-19 diagnosed populations, COVID-19 quarantined populations and now COVID-19 Positive isolation patients. Most of the homeless we serve are all high risk populations that are predisposed to acquiring the disease, becoming super spreaders and dying from the disease due to their underlying health issues,” said Rowland. “When the homeless encampments and shelters start to get infected, it will spread like wildfire, uncontrollably, and indiscriminately across the city. That is why at A Safe Haven with the support of our Boards and staff, and alignment and in accordance with our mission, we understood and responded with our like-minded partners to the immediate and urgent need to expand our capacity to help accommodate the homeless that are COVID-19 Positive.”

For more information about ASH, please visit http://www.asafehaven.org. ###

About A Safe Haven Foundation
A Safe Haven (ASH) is a social enterprise that provides a comprehensive and vertically integrated approach uniquely designed to address root causes of poverty and homelessness for social and economic development to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency. Populations served: Individuals, Adults, Families with children, Youth, Veterans and non-violent re-entry. ASH Services: Individualized case management, shelter, food, treatment, education, job training, access to employment & affordable housing. Partnership network: public/private/corporate/foundations and other entities to provide a network that can help deliver a seamless continuum of care, housing and employment and/or resources including funding to achieve financial stability & sustainability. Impact Goal: improved return on investment, efficiencies and results for all stakeholders. Learn more: http://www.ASafeHaven.org.

About Rush University System for Health
RUSH is an academic health system whose mission is to improve the health of the individuals and diverse communities it serves through the integration of outstanding patient care, education, research and community partnerships. RUSH comprises Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, Rush Health, as well as numerous outpatient care facilities. Rush University, with more than 2,500 students, is a health sciences university that comprises Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College. RUSH was ranked first among 93 U.S. academic medical centers in Vizient’s 2019 Quality and Accountability Study, and among the top 50 hospitals in five specialties in U.S. News & World Report's 2019-2020 Best Hospitals rankings, including two in the top ten and two of the highest-ranked programs in Illinois.

About Heartland Alliance:
Heartland Alliance, one of the world’s leading anti-poverty organizations, works in communities in the U.S. and abroad to serve people experiencing homelessness, living in poverty, or seeking safety. The organization provides a comprehensive array of services in the areas of safety, health, housing, education, economic opportunity and justice, as well as leads state and national policy efforts to create systemic change. ###

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Marie Lazzara
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