Shaking Off the Winter Blues at EHC!

In late January, nearly 100 community members and volunteers participated in our “Shaking Off the Winter Blues” community event at our Kensington health center site. Many different stations were available with fun activities for adults and children, including yoga, many different arts and crafts, vision boards, giant games, green space and a kids’ book nook. Special thanks to UnitedHealthcare, Everence and Sunday Suppers for joining us to share about their services with our community. Said Wilma Lebron, Community Programs
Coordinator with Esperanza: “As this was my first event as a new employee, it was really nice to see all the hard work come together! I really enjoyed the community members getting excited about putting together vision boards.”

The event was held as part of theHeart of Kensington Collective Impact 2022 collaborative, of which Esperanza is a partner together with Impact Services, the McPherson Square Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, Mural Arts Philadelphia and Street Soccer USA. “It was so great to see all the partner organizations come together to provide resources and a fun, safe environment for families to enjoy together,” said Jennifer Acosta, Community Health and
Wellness Coordinator at Esperanza.

Justice in Action, Helping
People in Need

Esperanza’s Medical-Legal Community Partnership with
Philadelphia Legal Assistance

Despite the black mold that Carmen*, a patient of Esperanza Health Center, first noticed in her rented house in 2010, and even after receiving a positive mold test
result in 2016, her landlord refused to
remediate the mold. Carmen’s concerns
about her family’s breathing problems
grew. She then sought out the assistance
of attorney James Tiderington of
Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA),
who provides on-site legal assistance for
Esperanza’s patients, after she experienced breathing problems. James advised Carmen that she had the right to withhold her rent money in escrow. The landlord retaliated by filing an eviction action against Carmen in landlord/tenant court. She was represented in court by James, where they won the case. As a result of the court’s ruling, the landlord paid to have the mold properly remediated, removing the threat to the health of Carmen and her family, and the eviction matter was withdrawn. Carmen’s story is but one of many examples of how Esperanza’s Medical-Legal Community Partnership (MLCP) with PLA has had a significant impact, by advocating for and seeking justice for our patients and community members.

In our partnership, James
Tiderington, Esq. (photo, L) works as
a lawyer on site at all three of
Esperanza’s locations, providing legal
assistance to patients while working
closely with clinicians and other staff
members on a case-by-case basis.
Another PLA team member, Erin
Davison (photo, R) is developing the
capacity of the MLCP to serve the
socio-legal needs of clients in the city
who are impacted by the opioid crisis,
including patients at Esperanza. Also
working on the MLCP to support
patients at Esperanza is Owen
Gomory (photo, L), who recently
joined the staff at PLA as a National
Health Corps member and paralegal.
In 2017, Esperanza’s Department of
Community Health and Wellness
began to develop a relationship with
PLA that eventually led to the
development of the new MLCP. With
the help of Philadelphia Futures
interns, an initial step was to create a
Legal Needs Assessment to identify
key legal needs among our patients.

Below is a summary of some key findings, which reflect the significant poverty in our North Philadelphia community, where 40% of the nearly 280,000 residents live at or below 100% of the federal poverty level.

  • Esperanza’s patients often struggle with covering basic costs of living:
    44% of patients said they are concerned about their ability to afford
    medicines, 44% stated that they have been unable to pay their rent or
    mortgage, and 38% said that they did not have sufficient healthy food in
    their home.
  • 55% of patients indicated a need related to housing or utilities.
    Patients indicated a strong need for legal aid, with an average of 3.4 legal
    needs per patient, and 81% said that they would use free legal services
    at Esperanza if they were available.
  • Also, the cost of legal services and unfamiliarity with the legal system
    were frequently mentioned by patients as significant barriers to accessing
    legal assistance.

This information was then used to inform the services that the new MLCP would provide to best address patients’ needs. Since the start of 2019, the MLCP has served more than 80 cases that have been brought by Esperanza’s patients. We are thankful for the support that James, Erin and Owen provide for our patients through the MLCP, and we look forward to growing and building this partnership in 2020 and beyond!

(* Note: name has been changed to protect the patient’s identity).

Your generous gift to Esperanza today will enable our care provider teams to provide compassionate, comprehensive care and much-needed services, such as medical-legal services, social services assistance, nutrition counseling and many others. Thank you for considering a gift to Esperanza!

Join the Esperanza Team!

We’re seeking qualified professional individuals to join our team!At
present we have many job openings across a range of clinical and
administrative departments. Please visit our website’s Opportunities page to
learn more about our current openings and to apply.

Watch this short video belowas a number of our staff members share about
their experiences and what it’s like to serve our patients and community as part
of the Esperanza Health Center team: