Revolutionizing Care for the Unhoused Homeless Health Navigation Program

Recognizing the intricate challenges faced by unhoused individuals — frequent emergency department visits, compounded by the volatility of homelessness and additional behavioral health and substance use issues — we introduced the Homeless Health Navigation Project (HHNP) in November 2020. With the support of UniHealth Foundation and Good Hope Medical Foundation, the HHNP provides compassionate, personalized care to address the root causes of recurrent hospitalization and foster stability in our patients’ lives.

At the heart of the HHNP are the navigators, whose personal engagement with patients lays a groundwork of trust. Sandra Arzola, Adventist Health White Memorial’s Homeless Health Navigator, offers a tailored 90-day post-discharge program that encompasses medical follow-ups, housing needs and financial stability to ensure continuity of care and a bridge to essential resources. Her help ensures that care doesn’t end at discharge but starts a new chapter of supported improved health.

The HHNP reflects our understanding of the complex needs of our unhoused patients. It’s also a conscious step towards a healthcare model prioritizing sustained, holistic support to one of the most vulnerable populations.

“Go to White Memorial. They can help you.”

Timothy Walker, once a Beverly Hills lawyer, found himself living on Skid Row, struggling with addiction and suicidal thoughts. Seeking help, he went to a local hospital but was refused care because he was deemed too aggressive. A responding sheriff’s deputy, recognizing his plight, advised, “Go to White Memorial. They can help you.”

Sandra Arzola, Homeless Health Navigator, with Timothy Walker, standing in the healing garden at Adventist Health White Memorial.

Sandra Arzola, Homeless Health Navigator, with Timothy Walker, standing in the healing garden at Adventist Health White Memorial.

Walker was lovingly admitted here and introduced to Homeless Health Navigator Sandra Arzola. “Her kindness created a feeling of hope,” Walker recalled. Arzola aided in Walker’s recovery by providing him with essential documents like his photo ID and birth certificate, which helped him rebuild his life and self-worth and achieve sobriety. He resides at the LA Mission today, sharing God’s grace in daily encounters and running with the Skid Row Running Club.

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