Non-profit works to keep homeless out of hospital

Non-profit works to keep homeless out of hospital

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 26 at 6:40 PM

CHARLOTTTE, N.C. -- A Charlotte non-profit is working to save you millions of dollars.

You may not have heard of it but Samaritans House helps keep homeless people from racking up major medical bills.

Catrina Banks just had surgery because of complications from cancer.

She considers it a luxury that she is able to sit here recovering in a nice home.

“You’re here to recover, and I love it,” she says relaxing on a comfortable living room couch in front of the television.

Banks is homeless; she normally stays at the Salvation Army Women’s shelter.

But while she heals she is living at Charlotte's Samaritans House.

“If it was you, you'd go home, somebody would take care of you; we're their home. We take them in, give them a good place to sleep, good food to eat, we let them get better,” said Brad Goforth, the executive director at Samaritans House.

He says the biggest problem with hospital stays for homeless people is that many typically end up right back in the hospital.

Samaritans House is changing that.

“If we weren’t here they'd be going on the streets, and that’s really not the best place to get better when you're sick,” Goforth explains.

Banks agrees.

“I would have been too worried about other things, not my personal recovery. I would have been on the go all the time.”

The non-profit has room for a dozen people at a time. Volunteers and nurses help care for them round the clock until they're well. The place is almost always full.

Goforth believes that translates to saving the Charlotte community millions of dollars.

“If we weren't here it would be taxpayer money, or in some way the citizens would end up having to pay for all this extra healthcare.

Banks said, “It’s a blessing; this place is a blessing.”

The average night in a hospital costs $12,000, and last year Samaritans House helped hundreds of patients.

The annual fund-raising luncheon for Samaritans House is March 6.

For more information click here

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