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    Homebridge Success Stories


    Dignity Fund Coalition member Homebridge, Inc., is an organization that provides home care and support services in San Francisco county. Its largest program provides more than 500,000 hours of home care service to over 1,200 clients annually. Homebridge also operates a training program for personal caregivers, and a transitional care program for those discharged from hospitals.

    Homebridge’s expertise is in working with clients who are ill, cognitively-impaired or have other issues that make it challenging for them to live independently in their homes. The organization’s innovative, client-centered model of care integrates case management, operations and scheduling support and caregiver training. It is designed to tailor to the personal, changing and frequently-intensive needs of its clients.

    The home care clients reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of the Bay Area and speak more than 10 languages and dialects. Homebridge further serves adults across the age spectrum, with approximately 50% of clients being over the age of 65 and 10% over the age of 85. Here are just a few of the organization’s success stories:

    Miguel F., Client

    “I’m all alone. No one would have helped me. It’s only me and Marisol,” said Miguel while speaking about his Home Care Provider, Marisol. Miguel, pictured at left, was at risk of becoming homeless because of the hazards of years’ worth of belongings cluttering his home.

    Homebridge’s care team, including service coordinator Enedina Mendoza and scheduler Jackie Varela, worked to ensure Miguel’s home since 1993 continued to be his home. In addition to connecting Miguel with legal resources, his care team partnered with him to ensure he would be accepting support from Homebridge again. Home Care Provider Marisol, a 17-year Homebridge veteran, worked for a week to make Miguel’s home free from anything that could lead to an eviction. Marisol even accompanied Miguel to court and celebrated with him when he was able to stay at his home.
     
    Thanks to Marisol and the Homebridge care team for supporting Miguel!

    Kevin T., Home Care Provider

    “If you’re going to work, at least have it be something where you’re helping and have a chance to connect with people and make improvements in clients’ lives,” says Kevin T., a Homebridge Home Care Provider for nearly three years.

    Kevin did just that several years ago when an electrical fire broke out in the apartment of a client. Kevin said, “I thought the fire was outside, so was really nervous when I saw it inside my client’s apartment.” Kevin was able to extinguish the fire before the fire department even arrived.

    It’s not every day a Home Care Provider puts out a fire, but Homebridge providers do make daily impacts. Recently, when Kevin had a break in his schedule due to a cancelation, he took initiative to support a client who was going to have a room inspection. For many Homebridge clients, a successful room inspection can mean the difference between being housed and homelessness. Kevin spent several hours cleaning the client’s room. Due to Kevin’s forethought, the client avoided a lease violation and remains in their home.

    “The most meaningful part of being a Home Care Provider,” Kevin says, “is knowing that you’re helping people who wouldn’t otherwise be receiving support. We are the last chance many people get to receive services and support.”

    Tynisha W., Home Care Provider

    The first two times Tynisha met her new client, she didn’t see her. Tynisha sat on the floor of the hallway, talking with her client through the door because the client felt ashamed at how her apartment looked.

    On her third visit, Tynisha convinced the client to unlock the door. The door would hardly open and once she could see inside, Tynisha realized there was no place to walk. The client, who suffers from body lice, was crying, saying, “Look at my house. I understand why no one wants to help me.”

    Tynisha helped her into the shower, made her feel comfortable, and proactively convinced her to accept help. Within weeks, Homebridge removed 30 large bags of papers and non-working electronics. The client, in her 80s with no family support and fearing becoming homeless, says she is, “happy I got it done.” Her door can fully open and she can, again, see her kitchen sink.

    Tynisha has been a Home Care Provider for nearly two years. When she first started, she was ready to quit because she felt the work was too stressful and hard. Today, she says, “What I do is challenging sometimes, but I get attached to my clients and I won’t leave them.” Tynisha’s impacts aren’t just on her clients. Her two-year-old daughter has clearly seen the compassion, patience, and care she brings to the job because she recently said, “Mommy, I want to go do what you do.”

    Humbert W., Client, and En Xia H., Home Care Provider

    En Xia comes from a family devoted to caring for others. Her parents modeled the patience and commitment needed to enjoy this work and her two older brothers are doctors in China. En Xia says that when she helps somebody, she herself feels happy.

    En Xia, who has been a Homebridge Home Care Provider for 13 years, worked in a sewing factory before pursuing her passion and her family’s professional calling.

    Twice a week for the past three years, En Xia has provided services to Humbert, who just celebrated his 89th birthday. Humbert immigrated to the U.S. through New York City and, in 1951, was drafted into the Army and fought in the Korean War. His family now lives in Canada, but Humbert says that the two days En Xia is with him, “those are good days because she’s the best.”

    In addition to cleaning his apartment and making food (the aroma of the tomato and garlic meatball dish En Xia had made for Humbert was delectable), Humbert says the best part of En Xia’s twice weekly visits are their times singing together. En Xia, who received a Home Care Provider of the month award, sings traditional Chinese music in Cantonese to many of her clients, including Humbert.

    En Xia’s dedication to caring for others has inspired many around her. Among them is her own son, whom she is helping to support as he studies to become a nurse, furthering the family tradition.


    LTSS: What They Are and Why They Matter to All of

    By Mark Burns 

    More than a quarter of our city’s population are seniors and people with disabilities. One in four. And our population continues to grow. Some call it a “silver tsunami” and others see it as a “silver reservoir” of time, talent and experience. Either way, it is here, it is coming, and it is us.

    As a percentage of the voting population, we are even bigger. We vote; we count. What is important to us, therefore, should be very important to our next mayor. And what is important to us are Long Term Services & Supports, or “LTSS.”

    What is LTSS? Great question! Unless you “work in the field,” you’ve probably never heard of the acronym and related terminology.

    For an increasing number of San Franciscans—that is, for many of us—LTSS is the thread that allows us to remain a contributing and vital part of the fabric of our city, community and neighborhood life. LTSS are affordable housing, eviction defense, housing subsidies, nutrition services, home delivered meals, congregate meals, senior centers, senior activities, pedestrian safety, accessibility to buildings, service centers and transportation for people with mobility limitations.

    LTSS include getting services that are appropriate to one’s situation, such as healthcare that is skilled and appropriate to one’s age and gender identification. LTSS are these and so very much more. LTSS are about those programs and services, and the government and societal policies that enable them. They allow seniors and people with disabilities to remain living vibrant, engaged lives in our communities of choice.

    So LTSS as a body of policies matter to us if we want to stay living the life we have built as passionate members of the San Francisco community. We don’t need senior living facilities, we need a fully integrated society whose policies actively seek to value and include our lifelong participation.

    Across the state, The SCAN Foundation is funding efforts at all levels to increase awareness and advocacy for LTSS. It starts with recognizing the term and what the term means for each person’s current and future life plans. SCAN is funding policy development and, this year, they are underwriting conversations with candidates for office at both the gubernatorial and the local level. 

    Yes, that means right here in San Francisco, where in a very few short weeks we will be electing our next mayor. Given that we represent a quarter of the total population—and an even larger voting contingent—what the next mayor thinks about LTSS really, really matters. Why? Because the next mayor can direct policy to improve access to all of these programs and can create budget opportunities, including both support for the current Dignity Fund and support for a host of other programs that can build on a vision of an “age and disability friendly” city.

    This is why the Dignity Fund Coalition’s Mayoral Town Hall on April 26 at the Herbst Theater is so important. It is an opportunity for us as a community to interact directly with the leading candidates for office about issues specific to us. Everyone is talking about housing, transportation, health, and public safety—but this is our chance to ask questions and to hear answers about LTSS—the thing that will now, or in the near future, matter deeply to each and every one of us.

    The Dignity Fund Coalition’s Mayoral Town Hall will be one of the largest mayoral candidate events during this election. We are anticipating several hundred attendees at the Herbst, with many more accessing the event through a live stream. Candidates will start with an opening statement about the broad array of programs intended to keep us living in community, and then we’ll be taking questions from the floor and from the live stream.  

    We hope that you’ll join us at the Herbst or online—and remember—LTSS (Long Term Services & Supports) matter both here and across the state. So, keep up on LTSS matters in the race for our state’s governor, too. And, of course, vote!

    Mark Burns is the Executive Director of Homebridge, Inc. (http://www.homebridgeca.org/), which is a member of San Francisco Dignity Fund Coalition.