Promoting access to comprehensive services for low-income residents of New Haven
While New Haven is home to a number of vital health and social services, these services often lack coordination of care, accountability, and fall short of the fundamental rights-based care standards of availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality (AAAQ). The New Haven area would be well served by more comprehensive, structured service provision and harm reduction programming designed with and for its homeless, street-based, and/or poor and low-income populations. Since early 2020, GHJP has worked to support the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK), a non-profit organization providing food assistance and services to people experiencing homelessness or living in poverty, in their ongoing effort to establish a low barrier, wrap-around drop-in service center in New Haven. This effort for a center complements other community based efforts that GHJP supports, such as SWAN’s work to develop a mobile van delivering harm reduction outreach services.
GHJP actions supporting accountable and comprehensive services, including a low-barrier drop in center in New Haven
GHJP provides ongoing research support for a participatory planning process engaging with a variety of stakeholders — including potential clients, service providers, City officials, and non-client community members -- to understand the community’s need and produce informed proposals for a drop in center.
In July 2020 GHJP produced for DESK’s use an analytical research paper on the need, best practices, and evaluation metrics for drop-in centers to serve as a foundation of information and advocacy efforts for the development of a comprehensive drop-in center in New Haven. The paper, The Case for Low-Barrier, Wrap Around Drop-in Centers in New Haven, Connecticut, outlines both reasons for, answers to arguments against, and best ways forward: fealty to harm reduction principles, and best practices of community-oriented planning, implementation, and evaluation.
In March 2021, GHJP produced a focus groups report that summarizes the results of a series of focus groups conducted by DESK and analyzed by GHJP that gathered community input regarding the drop-in center, and formulates a series of key recommendations to DESK to ensure that the drop-in center is responsive to the needs of the community and provides accessible, acceptable, and quality services.