Serving the terminally ill homeless
MAYOR DARRELL STEINBERG
Dear Dr. von Friederichs-Fitzwater:
As Mayor-elect of Sacramento, I am pleased to support Joshua’s House, a hospice house for the terminally ill homeless, on the Loaves & Fishes campus in Sacramento. I am aware that, on average, one homeless person dies on the streets every week in Sacramento County and that number has steadily increased in the past few years. This translates into rates three times higher than the housed population in Sacramento County. Approximately 38% die alone on the streets and 35% die in emergency rooms or as inpatients. Cardiovascular disease and internal disease (AIDS, cancer, etc.) account for more than 20% of deaths in this population.
Homelessness is going to be a top-tier priority for my administration and I believe a hospice house is a much-needed addition to Sacramento’s continuum of care. No person should ever be forced to live their final days, weeks or months living on the streets without adequate access to services that provide comfort and dignity.
I agree that having a safe, comfortable, home-like facility for our tenninally ill homeless neighbors where they would receive hospice care, have private rooms, regular meals and oppo1tunities to interact with each other as well as caring volunteers would allow them to die with dignity and respect. The oppo1tunity to keep their pets with them will be an added benefit.
Equally important, Joshua’s House would serve to significantly reduce healthcare costs while providing quality hospice care to those who are terminally ill in the homeless community. The largest “service” cost for the city and county is the cost for the Fire Department to transpott people experiencing homelessness in ambulances. Joshua’s House would provide a place for local hospitals to discharge terminally ill homeless patients with the knowledge that patients would receive quality hospice care! Hospice care significantly reduces the costs of re-occuning ambulance usage, ER visits and hospital stays.
I am pleased to paitner with you to bring much-needed hospice care to our homeless community and ensure that the poorest among us have an opportunity to die with dignity and respect.