Treating the Body and the Mind: New Behavioral Health Director Elevates the Level of Integrated Care

The following article appears in the spring 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Holistic. It’s a word that can have different meanings to different people. For Joseph’s Home new Behavioral Health Director Michael Biscaro, PsyD, holistic has just one meaning: treating both the body and mind to address issues that may have led to […]

The Art of Healing: New Wellness and Art Therapy Programs Allow Residents to Express Themselves

Lamont Cox has always been seen as a tough guy. As a former gang member with a seemingly hard exterior, he never backed down from a fight and was never one to discuss his feelings. After suffering from multiple strokes and a heart attack, Lamont’s house was foreclosed and he was left with no place to go. He found himself vulnerable, distressed and looking for help. That’s when he came to Joseph’s Home.

Lamont has been attending the new wellness and art therapy programs offered by Joseph’s Home in partnership with Ursuline College. This past fall, Executive Director Christine Horne attended an event hosted by Catholic Community Connection. Connecting catholic education and social services is one of Catholic Community Connection’s core objectives, so they helped connect Christine with Ursuline College at the event. Ursuline College President Sister Christine DeVinne, OSU then recommended that Instructor and Clinical Director Melissa Hladek reach out to Joseph’s Home in hopes of bringing wellness and art therapy programming to the acutely ill homeless men of Joseph’s Home.

Accompanied by students of the Ursuline College Counseling and Art Therapy program, Melissa leads the residents in creative activities that are meant to encourage thoughtfulness and meditation, reflection on past experiences, healthy coping, and the creation of goals and aspirations as they relate to mental health. This focus on listening and sharing has given some residents the freedom to open up and discuss the challenges and barriers they have faced.

These days, Lamont can be seen participating in yoga, meditation and art projects that provide relaxation and reduce anxiety. “You all have showed me something I have never seen before. When I was growing up, all I saw was drugs and guns. I never had time for this. But now, I’ve got time,” said Lamont.

Lamont has been at Joseph’s Home for just over a month and has enjoyed attending the wellness and art therapy programs because they have allowed him to be creative and regain a sense of dignity. “I feel like I’ve been healed by art because it makes me feel good,” he added.

Melissa said she hopes that Joseph’s Home residents can tap into a side of themselves that is very rarely explored. Whether it be sharing about a traumatic event from the past, meditating to relieve the stress of homelessness and illness, or expressing their emotions through an art project, men like Lamont are experiencing healing that goes beyond medicine. The wellness and art therapy programs are providing homeless men who have lived chaotic and, in some cases, traumatic lives a coping mechanism and a sense of worth they’ve never felt before.

“It’s beautiful because it brings out the good in a person,” said Lamont.

The article above appears in the spring 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter.

Team Work Makes The Dream Work – El Barrio Helps Residents Overcome Barriers to Secure Employment

I’ve healed, I’m looking for housing, now I need to get back to work.

This is the challenge that many residents of Joseph’s Home face. Perhaps they have a negative work history or have no skills training. Maybe they just don’t have the suit they need to wear to an interview. That’s why Joseph’s Home has teamed up with El Barrio Centers for Workforce Development (El Barrio) to help residents conquer those barriers and more.

El Barrio has forged a path for residents who are willing and able to work to access the training and networking they need to secure employment. El Barrio provides an onsite workforce development program that allows residents to train and receive certifications in four or more weeks in one of several tracks: customer service, hospitality, construction, transportation, pharmacy and teacher assistance. El Barrio then provides case management to prepare candidates to enter the workforce ready and motivated. Once a client has graduated from the program, El Barrio matches candidates to companies looking for diversity in their organization.

Joseph’s Home’s own healthcare navigator, John Mytrysak, is a perfect example of how El Barrio training has made a big difference for residents. John fell ill in 2014. Due to his illness, his kidney function was slowly declining and his cognitive abilities were suffering as a result. The first big sign came when he lost his job due to a decline in his performance. Eight months later he was out of money. He sold his home and lived out of his car. Less than two years after he lost his job, he had also lost his car, was drowning in debt and was living in a homeless shelter. He was then referred to Joseph’s Home. Within two months, he was receiving the medical care he needed and he was participating in the El Barrio workforce development program in the customer service training track.

After working with El Barrio staff who helped him review his resume, learn professional skills for his chosen field, attend a job fair and receive a National Retail Federation (NRF) certification, he got a job in retail. He then had the income to get and keep an apartment. Flash forward to today. John is now the healthcare navigator at Joseph’s Home and is living the dream—an independent and successful life—all thanks to teamwork.

The article above appears in the spring 2018 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Pictured above are Joseph’s Home Executive Director Christine Horne and John Mytrysak.

 

Perseverance in Hope: annual benefit luncheon to help provide integrated health care to acutely ill homeless men

Perseverance in Hope: The Annual Joseph’s Home Benefit Luncheon is Thursday, June 21, at 11:30 a.m. at Windows on the River in Cleveland. The luncheon celebrates the remarkable healing and achievements of the acutely ill homeless men who have stabilized their health and transformed their lives at Joseph’s Home. In addition to lunch, there will be door prizes, a raffle and silent auction. Dan Moulthrop, CEO of The City Club of Cleveland, will serve as emcee and will be accompanied by keynote speaker Judge Michael J. Ryan, a judge on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division.

Funds raised at the luncheon provide meals, shelter and other care for the residents of Joseph’s Home. Individual tickets are $50 per person. Sponsorships are available beginning at $500 and include at least one table for up to 10 guests. Visit the event website for more information and to reserve your place today.

Judge Ryan successfully ran for judge in 2005, becoming the youngest African-American male to be elected in the Cleveland Municipal Court’s history. In 2012, he was elected judge to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile Division. Ryan grew up in poverty in Cleveland’s Longwood Estate projects. With his biological father in prison, he was under the care of his mother, who had him when she was 14, and his stepfather, who were both addicted to heroin. In addition to working with youth as a judge, Ryan does extensive volunteer work with area youth, both directly and through helping organizations creating opportunities for youth and adults, such as serving on the board of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and on the Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland. In 2015, Ryan self-published a memoir, “The Least Likely: From the Housing Projects to the Courthouse,” on how he overcome the odds.

Joseph’s Home, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, provides a nurturing, caring environment for men without resources who have acute medical needs, helping them heal and achieve independence. Joseph’s Home is the only Northeast Ohio organization of its kind: offering acutely ill homeless men temporary shelter that provides medical respite to promote healing and long-term self-sufficiency.

Sponsorships and tickets are available. Click here for more information and to reserve your place today. Contact Development Manager Madeline Wallace at 216.987.9201 or mwallace@josephshome.com if you or your company have additional questions.

Welcome New Staff & Board Member

We are pleased to welcome two new part-time staff members and one new board member, all three of whom have extensive medical and behavioral health backgrounds that will be extremely valuable as Joseph’s Home continues building medical respite capacity. Filling the two staff positions is a major step in fully transitioning into a medical respite program and providing the next level of integrated care.

Harikrishna C. Ponnam, M.D.—Medical Director
Dr. Ponnam, from St. Vincent Medical Group, is board-certified in internal medicine and is at Joseph’s Home weekly on Thursdays. As medical director, Dr. Ponnam provides clinical oversight and expertise as it pertains to the admission, care and discharge of residents, as well as helping create significant program efficiencies. He came to St. Vincent Medical Group in 2016 after an internal medicine residency in Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital in Mount Vernon, New York. He received his medical degree from Kurnool Med College Sri Venkateswara in India.

Michael J. Biscaro, PsyD, ABPP—Behavioral Health Director
Dr. Biscaro is a clinical psychologist with more than 15 years of experience providing direct clinical service and consultation in a variety of settings, including private hospitals serving the community and veterans, community mental health centers, private practice, the criminal justice system, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. He earned his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree from Xavier University and completed a post-doctoral residency in clinical psychology at the Cleveland VA Medical Center. As behavioral health director, he helps identify and address mental health and substance abuse issues and connect residents with ongoing intensive care, as well as helping train and oversee staff around trauma-informed care.

Lloyd Cook, M.D., Board Member
Dr. Cook joins the Joseph’s Home Board of Directors with more than 25 years of experience in internal medicine. Dr. Cook is the assistant medical director for Medical Mutual of Ohio. He was previously affiliated with St. Vincent Medical Group. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University and trained in the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Internal Medicine Residency Program.

Pictured below are Dr. Biscaro and Dr. Ponnam

Warm Hands, Warm Hearts Happy Hour is January 25

Joseph’s Home is hosting the Warm Hands, Warm Hearts fundraising happy hour social Thursday, January 25, from 5:30 – 7:30 at The Oak Barrel, 5975 Canal Road, Valley View, Ohio. Tickets are $25 per person and include two drink tickets and heavy hors d’oeuvres.

“We invite anyone to come meet up with friends and colleagues, unwind and warm up next to The Oak Barrel’s cozy fireplace. Indulge with comfort food, enjoy a glass of beer or wine, and learn about the Joseph’s Home mission of caring for acutely ill homeless men,” said Joseph’s Home Executive Director Christine Horne.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by clicking here. Please RSVP by January 22. Walk-ins are also welcome. Cash, credit card and check payments will be accepted at the door.

All proceeds benefit the mission of Joseph’s Home.

About Joseph’s Home
Joseph’s Home, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, serves as the only homeless service provider in Northeast Ohio exclusively focused on medical respite care. While men stabilize their physical illness in a nurturing faith-based environment, they also develop their individual housing plans and connections to behavioral health supports.

 

Perseverance in Hope Luncheon

Joseph’s Home annual benefit luncheon to help ill homeless men heal

 

Joseph’s Home is the only Northeast Ohio organization of its kind: offering acutely ill homeless men temporary shelter that provides medical respite to promote healing and long-term self-sufficiency. Joseph’s Home will hold it signature fundraising event—Perseverance in Hope—Thursday, June 15 at 11:30 a.m. at Windows on the River in Cleveland.

In addition to door prizes, a raffle, silent auction and lunch, the fundraiser features a panel discussion with four alumni who will discuss their experiences in the program, how they ended up at Joseph’s Home and how it has positively impacted their lives. Dan Moulthrop, CEO of The City Club of Cleveland, will serve as emcee for the luncheon and will moderate the panel discussion.

Moulthrop was appointed CEO of The City Club of Cleveland in 2013. Prior to joining the City Club, he was co-founder of The Civic Commons, an organization promoting civic good in the field of social media. He’s an award winning journalist, a former radio host and high school teacher and a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Funds raised at the luncheon provide meals, shelter and other care for the residents of Joseph’s Home. Individual tickets are $50 per person. Sponsorships are available beginning at $500 and include at least one table for up to 10 guests. Visit the event website for more information and to reserve your place today.

Joseph’s Home, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, provides a nurturing, caring environment for men without resources who have acute medical needs, helping them heal and achieve independence.

Another life transformed with the help of Joseph’s Home

Joseph’s Home, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, empowers men who are experiencing homelessness and acute illness to heal in a nurturing, faith-based environment and achieve independence. Recent graduate Jamie is one of those men.

Jamie was hit by a bus while riding in a cab, which injured his knee and left him unable to work. He came to Joseph’s Home to heal, manage his health and keep a positive outlook. His story, which was recently shared in the Joseph’s Journey newsletter, is below:

A Life Transformed: Bouncing Back from Being Hit by a Bus

Jamie knows what it’s like to get hit by a bus. Literally and figuratively.

The first time was figurative. It was 1993 and he was working two jobs and studying full-time for a nursing degree when one August day he and a roommate got in an argument about money. The roommate pulled a gun. Jamie had a split second to react. Trying to defend himself, they struggled and the gun went off. His roommate was hit and killed.

In an instant, his life was shattered.

Without witnesses to corroborate his story, he was convicted of manslaughter and served six years in prison. His conviction meant he was unable to pass the background check required for a career in nursing—or many other jobs. He managed to make a living for a few years working as an unlicensed caregiver for family and friends.

Then he got hit by a bus—literally

He was riding in a cab that was broadsided by a city bus. At first glance, it appeared that he had escaped major injury. But then his right knee started swelling and hurting. Unable to work, he lost his apartment.

He had surgery, but struggled to rehab his knee while living in homeless shelters.

In September 2015, he was admitted to Joseph’s Home, where he could rest his knee in the privacy of his own room. And perhaps even more importantly, he found that he could talk with the Joseph’s Home staff and volunteers. With their support and encouragement, he worked to process his emotions, manage his health care and keep a positive outlook.

“Joseph’s Home is like a home to me. There’s still a lot of pain, but they’ve eased of lot of that for me,” Jamie said.

In March, Jamie found an apartment that accepted him in spite of his felony. He looks forward to participating in the Joseph’s Home Alumni Advisory Board and, if possible, he wants to help encourage and mentor future residents on their journey out of homelessness.

Joseph’s Home benefit luncheon to help ill homeless men heal

Joseph’s Home is the sole Northeast Ohio organization of its kind that provides acutely ill homeless men with transitional housing and also promotes healing and long-term self-sufficiency. Joseph’s Home will hold it signature fundraising event Thursday, June 23 at 11:30 a.m. at Windows on the River in Cleveland. The benefit luncheon—Perseverance in Hope—is being presented in partnership with the City Club of Cleveland.

Dan Moulthrop of the City Club will headline the event and lead a panel discussion on homelessness in Cleveland. Dan Moulthrop was appointed CEO of The City Club of Cleveland in 2013. Prior to joining the City Club, he was co-founder of The Civic Commons, an organization promoting civic good in the field of social media. He’s an award winning journalist, a former radio host and high school teacher and a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.The event celebrates the remarkable healing and achievements of the men who have stabilized their health and transformed their lives at Joseph’s Home. Funds raised will provide meals, shelter and care for the residents of Joseph’s Home. The cost is $50 for general admission; $100 for patrons. Sponsorships are available and start at $500.

For more information or to purchase tickets or sponsorships online or by phone, visit the event website or contact Nathan Munn at 216.875.4634 or nmunn@sistersofcharityhealth.org

About Joseph’s Home
Joseph’s Home, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, empowers men experiencing homelessness and acute illness to heal in a nurturing, faith-based environment and achieve independence.