Last winter, Ray Fitzberger got frostbite on his legs and feet. Doctors had to remove three toes on his left foot. Not long after the surgery, Ray was released from the hospital.
Every day, people we know and love undergo surgery to address life-threatening conditions. If they have no place to go, they get discharged back to the streets.
Luckily, Ray was able to get a bed in our convalescent care program. We provide 25 beds for men and women to rest and heal—in fact, we are the only medical respite program in the Baltimore area for people like Ray.
“People come to us with a big problem, sometimes like frostbite or injury from a car accident, but then we help them deal with other health problems they’re experiencing. While we work on their medical need, we are able to intervene in other areas of their life as well, so they walk out of here better than when they arrived,” says Behavioral Health Coordinator Phill Sheldon, LCSW-C.
Thanks to your investment in Health Care for the Homeless, we mobilized a nurse, case manager and therapist to help Ray recover from frostbite and to treat him for an acute lung infection.
After 11 months in our convalescent care program, Ray’s foot healed and his caseworker helped him apply for benefits for low-income senior citizens with disabilities. With a little money coming in each month, Ray smoothly transitioned from his convalescent care bed into an apartment in Hampden, where he grew up.
Stable, healthy and housed for the first time in years, Ray finally had the courage to reach out to his long-estranged brother. “He was proud to see me doing well,” Ray says. “When I signed my lease on my apartment, he helped me move in.”
In 2017 alone, you gave more than 160 people, including Ray, the time and space to regain health and stability through the convalescent care program.