Each Friday we collect donations to benefit a different community-based organization in Washington, DC. St. Matthew's Homeless Ministry will organize and serve the meal on April 7, and the beneficiary of the evening's almsgiving will be Christ House.
Consider spending your early Friday evening with St. Matthew's family and friends - come for the 5:30pm Mass, 6pm Stations of the Cross, and end with a shared meal and a great opportunity of almsgiving.
Please visit the Christ House website http://christhouse.org from which the following is excerpted and summarized.
Christ House – Providing Healing and Hope for Washington’s Homeless
Christ House opened in December 1985 as the first 24-hour residential medical facility for homeless men and women in the United States [and] ... is still the only facility of its kind in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Patients are admitted from area hospitals, shelters, clinics, and medical outreach projects. Their illnesses and injuries include cancer, hypertension and stroke, liver and kidney disease, diabetes, foot and leg ulcerations, amputations, HIV/AIDS, lung and respiratory disease, lacerations, fractures, and burns and frostbite. Many are often malnourished, anemic, depressed, and disconnected from healthy sources of support.
Mission and Vision
To provide comprehensive and compassionate health care to sick, homeless men and women in DC, and to assist them in addressing critical issues to help break the cycle of homelessness. We accomplish our mission by providing hospitality, supporting patients in their healing through a holistic approach, empowering individuals on their path toward stability, and creating community.
Services and activities are intended to promote complete recovery by comprehensively addressing not only physical problems but the underlying issues prompting homelessness. Our goal is to stabilize patients before they leave Christ House by providing education and tools to manage their health problems, with physical, mental, and emotional improvements to break the homeless cycle.
Staff physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses provide 24-hour medical care. Follow-up care, hospitalizations, and visits to specialist and physical therapists are arranged. Providing transportation and accompaniment to appointments maintains a continuum of care. Case management teams formulate care plans, meet weekly with patients, and refer them to community resources; they also obtain entitlements, benefits, and legal documents. Drug and alcohol treatment is provided (e.g., 12 week intensive in-house recovery program, AA meetings).
Holistic Support Services
Food Services - provide well-balanced, nutritional meals to often malnourished entrants including special meals for patients with medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, wired jaws).
Patient Activities - include art and poetry workshops; exercise, games, and movies; volunteer work assignments; and park, museum, sporting and cultural trips. These activities promote daily structure, self-discovery, self-esteem, and ommunity spirit.
Pastoral Care - offers daily one-on-one contacts and spiritual activities to ease the pain of isolation, hopelessness, and personal losses; and continues relationships with those hospitalized, incarcerated, or entering hospice or nursing homes.
Kairos Program and House - A Spiritual Recovery Program in a Supportive Community
Kairos Program participants are capable of living independently but due to chronic illness are unable to hold full-time employment. Volunteer service is a key element; members serve based on their gifts and abilities (e.g., escort Christ House patients to appointments, work in kitchen). Kairos House opened (1996) as a permanent home for program members with the vision that spiritual recovery can occur in this supportive community. See the Christ House website for “The Opportune Time,” a short documentary filmed and produced by Kairos Program members, about their “unique addiction recovery community … for formerly homeless men.”