Hospitals Are Releasing Homeless Patients Back To The Streets. There’s A Better Way.

Recuperative care facilities offer a safer and ultimately cheaper alternative.

LOS ANGELES — Two years ago, Sherolyn Scott lost the apartment she had been living in for 16 years due to rising rent costs. She took the money from her security deposit and started sleeping in motels, but when that money was gone, she resorted to parks and porches.

Sleeping outdoors, unprotected, set off a cascade of medical emergencies, often the result of violence. Attackers raped Scott, she said, and as she was recovering from the assault, she suffered a stroke. Later, robbers beat her so viciously that she ended up with her jaw wired shut.

Each of these events sent Scott to the hospital, after which she was released back to a life on the streets.

It wasn’t until the third hospital visit that police, worried that those who assaulted and robbed Scott would return to hurt her again, suggested the hospital find somewhere for her to stay after discharge.

The hospital then referred Scott to a recuperative care facility ― a temporary shelter with nursing staff and social workers ― run by a local nonprofit, the National Health Foundation. She spent the next four months recovering and working with a housing program. At the end of her stay, she was able to move into her own apartment in South Los Angeles. Scott, now 60 years old, believes she wouldn’t be alive today if it hadn’t been for recuperative care.

“If they had sent me back to the streets one more time, I [would] be dead,” Scott said.  Read More