BENEFITING: HEALTHY COMMUNITIES INC
In Oakland and throughout the country, as evidenced by recent and past events leading to uprisings across urban America, low-income African Americans find themselves at the bottom of the social hierarchy where structural and institutional barriers yield dividends of poverty, gentrification, social isolation, incarceration, chronic disease, violence, mental illness, and shortened life expectancy. Over the past 14 years, Healthy Communities, Inc. (HCI) has served and strongly advocated for a segment of society considered one of the hardest to reach – uninsured, indigent, and those re-entering society after serving time in prison, a majority of whom are low-income men and women of color. Due to the degree of oppression experienced by this population, we are well aware that there are limits to what we can accomplish and that there are forces at play that significantly undermine our ability to provide quality care. That, however, will not stop us from mobilizing people and resources to create a healthier Oakland
Our CrowdRise campaign began as a response to growing concerns surrounding Saint Andrews Park in West Oakland. The people of Saint Andrews Park –– a triangular respite that sits at the corner of 32nd and Filbert on the San Pablo Avenue corridor – have among the greatest unmet need for traditional preventive and primary care services. Occupying 0.17 acres and wedged between auto body shops, a senior citizen facility, and a liquor store, Saint Andrews is one of Oakland’s smallest parks. Much controversy has surrounded the park due to residents feeling unsafe and because the City of Oakland has done very little to address the prevalence of violence, drug dealing, and prostitution that have emphatically made their mark on the park and surrounding community. On any given day, the park is littered with shopping carts, sleeping bags, trash, and drug paraphernalia; and this has been the case for years. The loyalists of Saint Andrews are mostly homeless, largely disenfranchised, and significantly impacted by addiction, mental illness, chronic disease, HIV, and an overall lack of social and economic mobility. What’s needed at Saint Andrews extends beyond the scope of new benches, trimmed trees, or accessible walkways. The people who pack into its tight borders are in dire need of comprehensive and sustained services including healthcare, mental health support, substance abuse counseling, and employment. As a hot spot for crime, a heavy presence of street outreach workers is necessary to begin engaging people and connecting them to services. A complete overhaul of the conditions plaguing the park would go a long way in transforming the immediate area and improving the lives of those who frequent the park regularly. And as gentrification crisis in Oakland continues to gain momentum, efforts to connect these residents to affordable options will become even more critical.
How this campaign helps Saint Andrews
With your support, we will be able to provide on-going services to Saint Andrews occupants in the form of health and mental health services, housing, and case management. A jewel within West Oakland, Saint Andrews requires more than traditional maintenance and with funds raised through this campaign, we intend to bring the type of restoration that prioritizes the people. Both the acuity and urgency of need necessitate a hefty investment in prevention-oriented modalities of care that integrate primary and behavioral health with housing and case management. The proposed project will help Health Communities, Inc. (HCI) establish the Saint Andrews Care Zone whereby we: 1) build a culturally appropriate system of care for fifty (50) Saint Andrews visitors by consolidating our programs and services into an integrated mobile health model that consists of primary care, behavioral healthcare, substance abuse counseling, and health education; and 2) intensify our community engagement and street outreach efforts in the Care Zone to encourage regular health screenings, provide clean needles, mediate conflict, and to connect clients to public benefits, housing, and employment. The project will employ several strategies to help improve access to coverage and care, which will include:
- Prevention-oriented primary care services: HCI will provide fifty (50) Saint Andrews visitors with access to an integrated primary care mobile health home staffed by a Family Medicine Physician, Nurse Practitioner, and Medical Assistant;
- Trauma-informed mental health services: HCI’s team of clinically-trained behavioral health providers will deliver culturally appropriate mental health services to Care Zone clients through1:1 therapy; substance dependence counseling; and referrals for intensive psychiatric support;
- Building an eco-system of support for Saint Andrews: HCI will continue to collaborate with stakeholders and partners in Oakland and throughout Alameda County help coordinate the continuum of care for Care Zone clients;
- Deliberately addressing the social determinants of health: HCI will increase the availability of community-based health screening, outreach, and health coverage enrollment through the mobile medical van and mobile barbershop; and provide a robust set of support services consisting of temporary and permanent affordable housing, employment, laundry services, showers, legal assistance, dental screenings, and public benefits enrollment;
- Investing in the creation of safer neighborhoods within Care Zones: Along the San Pablo corridor in West Oakland, the Street Outreach team will be deployed to Saint Andrews Park to serve as peer educators and help connect residents most at-risk for being perpetrators or victims of community violence to resources and services offered through Healthy Communities;
How you can help us RESTORE Saint Andrews
We would like your help in extending services to Saint Andrews Park. Please consider investing what you can into the people of this community. We are hoping to raise $50,000 to begin providing services immediately. By contributing to our campaign, you are literally becoming a change agent in West Oakland. All funds raised through the campaign will be re-invested into the people of Saint Andrews. Your investment will help pay for the medical providers, street outreach staff, rents for temporary housing, case management, support services, clothing, transportation costs, and medical supplies.
We know not everyone is able to provide a big financial investment, and that's okay! We still would love your help. Here's what you can do:
- Share our CrowdRise page: Post, tweet, and email this page to urge others to help us meet our goal
- Donate food, water, and clothing: Donated items can be shipped or dropped off at:
Healthy Communities, Inc.
2580 San Pablo Avenue
Oakland, CA 94612
We appreciate any and all contributions you can make!