State Health Department Announces Awards to Help People Obtain Community-based Care Following Nursing Home Stays

Vera Institute for Justice and Community Caregivers, Inc. Receive Grants

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 24, 2013) – State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., today announced that grants have been awarded to two organizations to support their efforts to provide critical services that help individuals to avoid the need for institutional care.

Under a federal "Money Follows the Person" Demonstration Project, the Vera Institute for Justice of New York City, was awarded $500,000 and the Community Caregivers, Inc., of Albany, will receive $100,000.

"One of our goals in helping to promote healthy living and a strong quality of life is to provide opportunities for people to receive vital, community-based care," Commissioner Shah said. "The Department of Health is proud to partner with dedicated organizations like the Vera Institute for Justice and Community Caregivers so that they can deliver important long-term care services that help people retain as much independence as possible."

The Vera Institute for Justice is a not-for-profit organization that operates more than 20 initiatives, including programs that address health, safety and social services needs of vulnerable, older adults. The Institute, in collaboration with the New York State Office of Court Administration, established "The Guardianship Project" to provide a new model of institutional guardianship for the indigent elderly and people with disabilities. Currently, more than 100 New Yorkers participate in the Guardianship Project each year.

The $500,000 grant will allow the Vera Institute to expand its program capacity to serve residents in the New York City area, specifically Kings and Queens County. Funding will support additional staffing to manage client financial affairs, help individuals obtain public benefits and secure housing, and provide services that will allow clients to successfully remain in the community. The grant is for an 18-month period.

Laura Negron, director of the Guardianship Project, said, "We are very excited to have this opportunity to expand our innovative project so that we can serve additional individuals in need of guardianship care, striving to keep them safe at home and in their communities whenever possible – often at significant taxpayer savings."

Community Caregivers, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that organizes volunteer home-based, non-medical support services for clients in northwestern and central Albany County, including the towns of Berne, Bethlehem, Guilderland, Knox and New Scotland. Since 2005, hundreds of volunteers have provided a full array of services to more than 600 seniors and individuals with disabilities, including transportation, shopping, caregiver respite, meal preparation and delivery, light housekeeping and chores, visitation and referrals.

The $100,000 grant will allow Community Caregivers to expand into the city of Albany by offsetting expenses for additional volunteer recruitment, training, development of project outreach and marketing materials, stipends and supplies. The organization will also develop a collaborative relationship with the University at Albany to sustain the expanded program and create a manual of operational procedures to replicate the project in other areas of the Sate. The grant is for a one-year period.

Tom Tipple, executive director of Community Caregivers, Inc., said, "We are thrilled to have the support of the Department in expanding our ability to do this work."

Additional information about the Money Follows the Person Demonstration Project is available on the State Health Department website at: