Administrative Office
519-525 West Street
Camden, NJ 08103
(856) 541-6092
Fax (856) 541-6097
West Street Health Center
519-525 West Street
Camden, NJ 08103
(856) 968-2320
Fax (856) 968-2317
Greetings!

As we embark on a new year, we would like to take the time to highlight and look back on some of our endeavors and accomplishments in 2018.

Project H.O.P.E. has grown tremendously over the past year. Our growth has allowed us to provide care to more underserved individuals in the Camden community. At our West Street Health Center, we have continued to make strides in addressing conditions that are most prevalent among our patient population. This is especially evident in the expansion of our behavioral health services and increased collaboration with area organizations.

With your unceasing support, we continue to provide programming, education, and services to sustain positive patient outcomes. Thank you for taking the time to read about our work and the dedication of our team members.

Wishing you a safe, healthy, and happy New Year!

Sincerely,
Patricia DeShields MSW, LSW, RN
CEO
Project H.O.P.E (Camden's Healthcare for the Homeless)
Reflecting on 2018 at Project H.O.P.E.
Consumer and Advisory Board: A Patient Story
"Project H.O.P.E. is growing, and the new building has helped see more patients. We have come a long way" - Consumer Advisory Board President

The President of our Consumer Advisory Board (CAB), who wishes to remain anonymous, had a steady job in construction. However, he previously suffered from substance abuse. As a result, he became homeless and was also incarcerated. Once he was released from prison to a halfway house, he only had the clothes on his back and one month's supply of his blood pressure medication. When looking back at this difficult time, he fondly remembers Project H.O.P.E.’s clinical staff providing assistance, “Project H.O.P.E. lined up what I needed to do within days." He was able to obtain refills of his blood pressure medication, apply for SSI, and find housing in Burlington. There is a health center near where he now resides, however, he  chooses to continue to receive services at Project H.O.P.E. and   remains active in the CAB.
 
Reflecting on his 6 years as a CAB member, he affirmed, "People who think they don't have a voice do." He spends time speaking to fellow patients in our waiting room and brings suggestions and concerns to monthly CAB meetings. His valuable feedback has given Project H.O.P.E. insight on scheduling, hours of operation, and overall operational standards.
Community Engagement
Project H.O.P.E. recognizes that community engagement is a critical component of building lasting relationships in the Camden City region. In 2018, we worked to increase our involvement by participating in advocacy, holding public events, and collaborating with area organizations. Below are some of the highlights from the previous year, and we look forward to you joining us in the future!
National Health Center Week   
Each year, Federally Qualified Health Centers across the nation celebrate National Health Center Week in August. During this week, Federally Qualified Health Centers (also known as Community Health Centers) recognize their contributions to providing affordable, high quality, cost-effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved populations. During this time, Project H.O.P.E. hosted events for National Health Center Week focused on promoting health education along with patient and staff appreciation.
 
Dressed as superheroes, our clinical staff conducted health education for patients throughout the week. We also held a large outdoor event with food, activities, and face painting. Multiple vendors participated in National Health Center Week. America's Best offered free eye screenings and Virtua Health provided checkups for small children. Area organizations such as STARS Adult Medical Day Care,  Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey, and Aetna were also in attendance.

During National Health Center Week, Project H.O.P.E also reflects on all the work being done, and how to move forward in fulfilling our vision for a he althier Camden community. As part of this special week, we acknowledged the commitment and dedication of our staff and held Staff Appreciation Day with a catered lunch.

International Overdose Awareness Day 
As a Community Health Center that provides substance abuse treatment, our involvement in advocacy and education efforts surrounding overdose is a critical component of our work. On August 31, Project H.O.P.E. patients and staff marched alongside other area organizations and community members from the Respond, Inc. building to Camden City Hall in recognition of those that are affected, have overcome, or have lost their lives to addiction. As part of our advocacy efforts, Project H.O.P.E. supports federal and state legislation that addresses the cause of the opioid crisis. We are thrilled that the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 includes provisions authored by U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez. This legislation enables hospitals and medical departments to adopt practices in prescribing medications other than opioids.
Malcolm Jenkins Foundation
The holiday season can be extremely difficult for those individuals and families in our community who are facing poverty and homelessness. The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation generously gave to three Project H.O.P.E. patient families. At Antioch Baptist Church, families received wrapped gifts for each child and a basket consisting of a turkey, a roasting pan, and other holiday dinner ingredients. Thank you, Malcolm Jenkins Foundation!
National Homeless Persons Memorial Day
National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day takes place each year on the longest night of the year, December 21st. It is our annual tradition to hold a moment of silence in our waiting room for the patients that we lost to homelessness. After the moment of silence, Joe from our Consumer Advisory Board spoke about his bouts with homelessness, the friends he has lost, and the day to day struggles the homeless population face. Unfortunately, the average life expectancy of a person experiencing homelessness is 48 years old. This is due to a having a higher susceptibility to infectious and chronic illness as well as mental health and substance abuse issues. Also, those without shelter are more likely to be victims of acts of violence. 
Our Satellite Locations and Mobile Health Van!
We recognize that partnering with neighboring organizations is an essential part of reaching underserved populations in our community. Project H.O.P.E. has satellite locations at Cathedral Kitchen's medical suite and Volunteers of America (VOA) on Liberty Street. We also provide services via our Mobile Health Van at VOA Atlantic Avenue and Joseph's House. The goal of our satellite locations and mobile health van is to make physical, behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment more accessible. These services also allow our patients to maintain their overall health.

Joseph's House

When an individual does not have a place to live, his/her health is often put on the back burner. Joseph's House offers case management services and operates as an overnight shelter. Each Friday on our Mobile Health Van, Patient Advocate Juan Rodriguez encourages individuals to make an appointment at our health center, and he distributes pamphlets with information about our services. Additionally, one of our medical assistants checks individuals' blood pressure and blood sugar. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) also provides referrals to behavioral health services.

VOA Liberty Street

Every Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Project H.O.P.E. provides health services to individuals at VOA Liberty Street's post-incarceration residential program who are receiving substance abuse treatment. Our Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), Susanne Johnson and one of our medical assistants provide physical assessments and medication management. Also, one of our LCSWs provides mental health screening and counseling. Project H.O.P.E establishes a positive relationship with these patients so that they will continue to seek care after they are released from the program.

VOA Atlantic Avenue

VOA on Atlantic Avenue's emergency shelter offers services to 65 single adult homeless men. At the shelter, each individual receives resources to address their basic needs, life skills, employment, and housing. Maintaining health is a critical part of the long-term success for these individuals. Every Thursday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., we provide physicals and tuberculosis screening through our Mobile Health Van. Also, referrals to behavioral health services are given by one of our LCSWs.

Cathedral Kitchen

Cathedral Kitchen is where many of the underserved people in our community turn for a nutritious dinner. It has been a satellite location for our organization for several years, and we now administer Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for those battling a substance abuse disorder in addition to providing primary care and behavioral health services. Every Monday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Project H.O.P.E.’s Chief Medical Officer/Family Medicine Physician Dr. Lynda Bascelli and one of our medical assistants provides primary care and medication management. Also, behavioral health screening and counseling is provided by one of our LCSWs.
Health Topic of the Month: Cold Weather Safety
Unfortunately, due to limited hours and capacity of shelters, many of the homeless people in our community are exposed to harsh winter elements. As a result, Project H.O.P.E. recognized January as Cold Weather Safety Month. During the month, our clinical team along with our Patient Advocates educated patients on symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia as well as preventative measures such as properly layering clothing and keeping dry. We also encouraged all patients to get a flu vaccination, which is especially important since this year the state has a high rate of flu incidences.

New Patient Centered Scheduling and Business Hours
New Business Hours, Including Saturdays!
 
Project H.O.P.E. is constantly keeping the needs of our unique population in mind. Therefore, we have extended our business hours! We are now open Monday and Wednesday evenings until 7:00 p.m. Also, starting March 2nd, we will be open on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
 
Same Day Access
 
As of November 2018, Project H.O.P.E. began using Same Day Access. This service allows patients to receive a same-day appointment slot on the day that they call. By using this approach, the health center decreases patient wait time and improves the work flow of our clinical and behavioral health teams. After implementing Same Day Access, our no-show rate has decreased. As a result, more patients can be seen. Although this is an effective service, there are exceptions. Appointments scheduled in advanced are available for hospital follow-up and behavioral healthcare. Also, the specific needs of patients are always considered. These needs include appointments that require logistics like medical transportation.

Behavioral Health Funding &
Community Mental Health Center Certification
Behavioral Health Funding
 
In 2018, Project H.O.P.E. received funding to enhance substance abuse services from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This funding allows Project H.O.P.E. to be on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. Project H.O.P.E. uses these funds to expand our capacity to provide Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in the form of buprenorphine (Suboxone) and naltrexone (Vivitrol). In addition to behavioral therapies, the use of MAT greatly improves outcomes for patients battling substance abuse disorders.
 
MAT is not easily accessible to underserved populations. A significant barrier to receive MAT is the long waiting list for patients to access this treatment. With this funding, we are now able to reach those that may not be able to come to our facility. Project H.O.P.E administers MAT to patients at Cathedral Kitchen, which is one of our three satellite locations. We are also providing MAT education to incarcerated individuals soon to be released and former offenders at the Camden County Correctional Facility (CCCF). We also provide these individuals with ongoing medical treatment and substance abuse counseling at our West Street Health Center.
 
Community Mental Health Center
 
Project H.O.P.E became a provisionally licensed Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) in 2018. This recognition allows us to provide a comprehensive range of mental health and substance use disorder services to vulnerable individuals. As a CMHC, we develop a patient-centered treatment plan and coordination of services. Our interdisciplinary treatment team meets the physical and behavioral health needs of each patient. Also, Project H.O.P.E. provides group-based psycho-education and therapy programs.  Further, we use patient data to determine progress and take action to improve our performance.
Employee Development and New Staff
Employee Development
 
At Project H.O.P.E., we know that employee development is a key part of serving our patient population. In January, staff attended a training on diversity and cultural sensitivity. Frequent training on such topics ensure implementation of best practices in sustaining positive patient outcomes.
 
Our patient population copes with poverty, high crime, and homelessness daily. Therefore, simply providing primary medical and behavioral health care is not enough. Additionally, our patients come from diverse racial, cultural, and social backgrounds. For these reasons, it is necessary to provide care that is culturally sensitive when conducting outreach and engaging individuals. As a Federally Qualified Health Center that specifically provides medical care to homeless and underserved populations, Project H.O.P.E. is committed to continuously improving our approach to delivering integrated care to our patients.
 
New Staff
 
Over the past year, Project H.O.P.E. has received more grant funding and has expanded our operations. As a result, we have welcomed several new staff members in 2018.
 
In behavioral health, we have brought on board a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Bolanle Idowu-Akangbe, LCSW, Tara Bailey, and two new Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Stephaine Kauffmann and Jaymie Long.
 
As for our clinical team, we have added a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner, Daniel Stringer; RN, Niema Payton; Certified Medical Assistant, Tiara Briggs; and a Reception Clerk, Joselyn Reyes.
 
Our administration team has also grown with the addition of Grant Evaluator, Maechiel (Shelly) Lluz; Program Evaluation and Communications Coordinator, Whitney Miller, and Bookkeeper, Eileen Markhorst. We also have added two new Security Guards, Jasmine Cintron and Luther Mercado.
 
Welcome All!