Poor health is both a cause and a result of homelessness. The National Health Care for the Homeless Council states that half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are caused by health problems, while homeless people are three to six times more likely to become ill than housed people. Greer Relief is tackling this problem locally with the help of a grant by the Spartanburg Regional Foundation.
The Health Challenged Homelessness Prevention Program is now six months into implementation. Greer Relief is providing financial assistance and services to prevent health challenged individuals and families from becoming homeless and help them become stabilized. This program targets neighbors who have recently experienced a health crisis and would be homeless without assistance.
The following story is just one that has been made possible by the Spartanburg Regional grant and the Health Challenged Homelessness Prevention Program.
Sharon came to Greer Relief in need of financial assistance caused by a medical problem. She had recently discovered that she had a blood clot behind her left eye, which would require medication not covered by her current insurance provider. Her normal co-pay is $1.50 with Medicare, but the cost of her current prescription is $195.00. She applied for supplemental insurance coverage to help with future costs, but the clot was creating pressure, causing severe headaches and leaving her struggling to function normally. Greer Relief gave her a pharmacy discount card for the medicine and she transferred the prescription to a pharmacy where the lowest price was obtained. Greer Relief also provided her with $180 toward the purchase of the medication and she paid the remaining $15.00.
Caroline Robertson, Executive Director at Greer Relief, says, “We believe that our community’s health is reflected by its residents’ well being. Circumstances contributing to need are complex. Families may need relief due to generational cycles of poverty and addiction. As the economy has struggled, the challenges faced by the working poor have become more critical. Families encounter completely unexpected crises, such as job loss, injury, a death, or other disaster. Now, more than ever, we must care for our own.”