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Christ House

Providing Healing and Hope for Washington's Homeless since 1985

Comprehensive health care for sick, homeless men and assistance in addressing critical issues to break the cycle of homelessness: 24-hour medical care, food services, addictions treatment and housing placement.

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Why should I support your work?

Over 60 percent of our funding comes from individuals, churches, businesses, associations, and community organizations who contribute through our annual giving program and the United Way (#8385) and Combined Federal Campaign (#34256). A number of local and national foundations also support the needs at Christ House. All gifts from individuals and other sources make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.

Sick, homeless persons who are in-need of 24-hour medical care in a residential setting can only find it at Christ House. Our multi-faceted approach fosters self-reliance because each patient learns the importance of being part of a community. Our goal is that patients will leave Christ House with a new sense of hope and dignity, and be able to work and live independently in the community.

Why does your charity exist?

Christ House exists to provide a place of recovery and healing for sick, homeless men and women. Christ House is the only facility in Washington, DC, providing 24-hour health care for homeless persons in a residential setting regardless of how long they need care, and regardless of their ability to pay for services.

Since opening in December 1985, Christ House has provided patients with 24-hour medical care, case management, housing placement assistance, nutritious meals, clothing, and a wide range of other support services.

Christ House provides an opportunity for homeless men and women to heal and address the issues that may have led to their homelessness. Interdisciplinary teams composed of a physician, a case manager, the director of nursing, a nurse practitioner, and an addictions counselor meet weekly to discuss the ongoing treatment situation of each patient and to work with the patient in developing an individualized plan of action toward healing. This helps patients achieve their own goals while at Christ House and upon discharge.

Our broad approach to health care meets each patient’s physical, emotional, mental, and social needs. This approach fosters self-reliance because each patient develops respect for himself and others which eventually leads to him becoming a positive role model in the community.

What specifically do you do?

Current programming at Christ House encompasses a broad array of services and activities to provide patients with a complete recovery. Each patient is addressed in a comprehensive, holistic manner, addressing not only the physical problems that bring them to Christ House, but also the underlying issues that may have led to their homelessness.

The Kairos Program is a supportive recovery community providing permanent housing for former Christ House patients with ongoing medical needs. The success of the Kairos Program is based upon the strong sense of community forged through shared service work and engagement in the twelve step spiritual recovery program.

Our goal is that patients will leave Christ House stabilized, with the education and tools necessary to manage their health problems. The further goal is that these physical, mental, and emotional improvements will allow them to break the cycle of homelessness.

What have you accomplished?

Since opening in 1985, Christ House has served over 7,600 homeless men and women. Our patients are treated for an array of illnesses and injuries including fractures, tuberculosis, foot or leg ulcers, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. We provide an average of 10,600 patient-days of care each year.

In 2012, 77 percent of our patients were African American, 74 percent were over the age of 50, and 15 percent were veterans of the armed forces. Over 60 percent had no income or monthly income under $250.

How can I be sure you’ll use my money wisely?

We carry out our work in a most cost-effective manner. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, a stay in a hospital in the Northeast in 2009 (the most recent year available) lasted an average of 5.0 days. The average charges for that stay were $31,897, or $6,379.40 per day. In 2011, Christ House served 280 admissions and provided 10,780 patient-days of care at the average cost of only $266 per patient-day. Since our founding, we have served over 7,600 patients.

Medical respite programs, like Christ House, are very cost effective for the larger community. Nationwide, hospital length of stay for homeless patients is longer than the general population, and one contributing factor is the lack of appropriate discharge options. These longer stays, and greater likelihood of readmission, raise costs for hospitals and the public. Medical respite programs have been shown to offset these expenses by providing an appropriate discharge location, thereby decreasing length of stay for homeless patients, and also by reducing readmissions. Our local hospital partners depend on Christ House as a place to discharge their sick, homeless patients, knowing that they will receive high-quality care that will prevent the need for costly readmissions.