Imagine if every day was a battle just to obtain basic needs like food, water and shelter. With a daily struggle to survive, you wouldn’t think much about the future or who will care for you when you are elderly or dying. That’s the case for the approximately 600,000 homeless people living in the United States today.
Though many charitable programs work tirelessly to provide food and shelter to homeless populations, what happens when the homeless are near the end of their lives? Sherry Campbell, a social worker in Chattanooga, Tennessee, identified this gap in the social safety net: a lack of hospice care for the homeless population.
Working with a grant from the Tennessee Health Foundation, the charitable foundation of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee (BCBST), Campbell and a number of local volunteers opened the Welcome Home of Chattanooga, a shelter dedicated to providing death with dignity to the homeless population. In addition to the grant, 75 BCBST employees donated their own time and money to the residence, furnishing and decorating all four bedrooms.
“At the end of your life, you should not be all alone,” Campbell said. “People should have a peaceful, good death with the opportunity for forgiveness, gratitude, reconnecting with family members and being able to say ‘I love you’… This will happen every day at Welcome Home of Chattanooga.”
Welcome Home is just one example of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies working to improve the lives of people from every walk of life through the Power of Blue. To learn more about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are using the Power of Blue to help improve the health of the communities we serve, download the full 2014 Investing in America’s Health report or visit bcbs.com/investingincommunities.