|HUD No. 00-54|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Wednesday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||March 15, 2000|
CUOMO ANNOUNCES NATIONAL EFFORT TO INCREASE HEALTH CARE ACCESS FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced a national effort to increase access to health care resources and services for low-income families.
Low-income adults, seniors and children at selected Neighborhood Networks centers nationwide will gain access to dental care, health screenings, and other preventive health care services and education. Uninsured children also can sign-up for health insurance. These services will be provided by health care professionals and trained volunteers.
HUD Deputy Secretary Saul Ramirez announced two new national partnerships at an event at South Baltimore Family Health Center, a community health center in Baltimore, MD: a new partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and an ongoing partnership with HOPE for Kids, a program of HOPE Worldwide.
The national partnerships pave the way for local collaborative efforts that link local Neighborhood Networks centers with local BPHC-supported health centers and/or local HOPE for Kids programs.
"These national partnerships will improve health care for low-income families," Cuomo said.
As part of the new partnership agreement, the Neighborhood Networks initiative and BPHC will identify at least 10 local Neighborhood Networks centers and 10 local community health centers that will form local partnerships to deliver health services. These will serve as models for additional BPHC-Neighborhood Networks collaborations nationwide.
Since HUD created Neighborhood Networks in September 1995, thousands of business, community and government partners, such as HOPE for Kids and BPHC, have joined with residents and property owners of HUD-assisted and/or -insured housing to support the establishment and sustained growth of more than 600 Neighborhood Networks centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
With input from residents, centers create comprehensive programs and services that provide computer job training, General Equivalency Diploma certification, Internet access, education, microenterprise development, transportation, child care, senior/youth programs, social services and health care.
"The BPHC is pleased to partner with HUD to expand the health care safety net for residents living in low-income housing communities," said Assistant Surgeon General Dr. Marilyn Gaston, Director of BPHC. "Working together, local Neighborhood Networks centers and health centers can make an even greater impact on the health status of their communities. It is through local partnerships like these that innovative, community responsive programs are developed, breaking down barriers to health care for underserved people."
The partnership between Neighborhood Networks and HOPE for Kids helps to strengthen nationwide efforts to inform parents and their children about the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a state administered program that provides health insurance coverage to uninsured children up to age 19.
"We have found that the collaboration between HOPE for Kids and Neighborhood Networks has been very beneficial in assisting families as they struggle to access programs to help themselves and their children," said Chiles. "Neighborhood Networks provides innovative technology solutions, and HOPE for Kids provides vital outreach and education services. This combination creates powerful stepping stones, enabling families to build better lives."
On April 15th - as of part of HOPE Worldwide's Global Outreach Day - HOPE for Kids programs and/or BPHC-supported community health centers will hold health care-related activities at several Neighborhood Networks centers nationwide.