MELISSA'S STORY:

Medical Appointment Leads to Stable Housing

Melissa and her son
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To understand how far Melissa has come, one needs to go back to the beginning of her journey.

Homeless, addicted to drugs, and newly pregnant, Melissa began the tough journey toward sobriety so she could take care of her son. At around the same time she found out she was pregnant, she moved in with her seriously ill father. “My father urged me to go to the management company to pick up the forms I needed to be added to the lease, but I didn’t want to leave him alone,” says Melissa. After she relented at his insistence, her father passed away. “It was what he wanted. But in the eight minutes that I was gone to pick up the papers, he passed.”

After initially bouncing around to multiple shelters, she was placed in a shelter for parents in recovery, where she lived for many years.

However, prior to the start of the pandemic, she was notified that the building would be sold, her lease would not be renewed, and Melissa was on the move once more.

Relatives took her and her son in, but that situation soon changed, and Melissa had to leave, leaving her young son behind to be cared for. After she spent many months shuttling among relatives’ couches, her car, and local park benches – all while remaining sober - Melissa moved her son to her mother’s home, though remained homeless.

In March of 2021, Melissa had a doctor’s appointment at Charles River Community Health and encountered a life-turning point.  Charles River Community Health is a member of the Community Care Cooperative (C3), a MassHealth Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Metro Housing’s ACO Flex Services works in partnership with C3 to provide multiple human services to Greater Boston’s most vulnerable residents.

When Melissa revealed to her health practitioner that she was homeless, she was immediately referred to Metro Housing’s ACO Flex Services, and Case Managers Anne Francois and Danielle Barmash. After finding an available housing voucher designed specifically for chronically homeless families for Melissa, and despite numerous logistical hurdles, Melissa and her son moved into their new home in late August.

“My son is so happy and doing very well in school,” says Melissa. “Sometimes I just start crying because I don’t believe I actually have my own place to live.

“Metro Housing is the foundation of everything I have today. I wouldn’t have anything if it was not for them. All I ever wanted is to give my son a stable home life and Anne and Danielle from Metro Housing gave that to me.”

Metro Housing is the foundation of everything I have today. I wouldn’t have anything if it was not for them. All I ever wanted is to give my son a stable home life and Anne and Danielle from Metro Housing gave that to me.”

- MELISSA

Melissa sitting on stairs

 ACO (ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANIZATION) FLEX SERVICES

Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) are provider led health plans that hold participating providers financially accountable for both cost and quality of care for members.

 

Metro Housing’s ACO Flex Services provide high-touch, wraparound case management services to Greater Boston’s most vulnerable residents, with no time-based limitations on program participation. The program works from a commitment to “Housing First,” a strategy that recognizes housing stability as a necessary platform from which to build better health, financial stability, and overall well-being.

Our case managers counter the isolation, loneliness, and despair that characterize many of our participants’ lives with compassion, respect, and a participant-centered approach to providing services.