By Everly Inong, Internal Communications Manager | LifeLong Medical Care
Supportive housing is a corner of the LifeLong universe little known to many people who work here.
When people refer to “SHIP,” they’re talking about the Supportive Housing Program, which has been undergoing something of a transformation under the leadership of its new director, Everett Morgan.
LifeLong SHP brings health and social services to about 400 people in subsidized housing at sites in Berkeley, El Cerrito, and Oakland so that tenants with histories of homelessness can achieve housing stability and improve their quality of life. The program offers outreach, housing navigation, case management, and social services benefit advocacy.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to connect with people in the community,” says Everett. “What I like most about LifeLong is its commitment in reflecting the community we serve. (Chief of Integrated Services) Brenda Goldstein’s thought leadership and commitment to serving the community, and vision of where this program should go was the determining factor in joining the team.”
Everett comes with over 25 years of administrative, financial, and operational experience having worked in both the public and private sector, including managerial roles at United Parcel Service, Alameda Health System, Sutter Health, San Mateo Medical Center, and the California Public Utilities Commission.
One of his goals is to raise awareness about the program. “We’re identifying various opportunities for improvement where we can get better at engaging and providing services to our clients by leveraging our internal and external partnerships,” Everett says. He also plans to initiate a supportive housing operational council as early as the beginning of 2022.
Studies show that supportive housing not only resolves homelessness and increases housing stability, but also improves health and lowers public costs.
“Instantly I think of whole person care – a hierarchy of needs,” he says. “It’s a starting point of addressing whole person healthcare in a holistic way. It’s getting back to basics and helping them achieve their personal goals.”
To qualify for supportive housing, individuals need verification of homelessness, physical and/or mental disability, and linkage to Medi-Cal. Clients can also come from incremental wait lists. Before COVID, outreach at encampments and shelters played a big part in reaching those who could benefit.
SHP has a staff of about 40, and the program recently welcomed three new managers: Jeff Heath, Shavia Johnson, and Dannette McCain; and two new supervisors: Keyanna Davis-Trahan and Raquel (Kelly) Wanzo. Jeff, Keyanna, and Kelly were promoted from within LifeLong. The team also includes Ann Sussman, SHP LCSW Supervisor, CM Supervisor Paula Bonnell and Data/Quality Manager Sharon Osterweil.
“It is a privilege to work with individuals who are so committed to improving the lives of some of our most vulnerable community members,” Everett says. “The pride they take in their jobs is noticeable and greatly appreciated by clients and the leadership team within LifeLong.”
Everett Morgan, kneeling; from left: Jeff Heath, Danette McCain,
Sharon Osterweil, Shavia Johnson