Poster Presenters - Community Based Organization Category

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Q1 Please provide your contact information below.


Title and Organization




ZIP/Postal Code

Email Address

Phone Number

Sarah OBrien

Assistant Director of Development and Communications, East House

259 Monroe Avenue, Suite 200





Q2 Please describe your company or organizations overall goals and mission.

About East House:
East House is a private, non–profit agency serving individuals in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders with the goal of empowering them to live independent and fulfilling lives in their community. Through a network of services, which includes supported housing and care coordination as well as education and employment programs, East House treats the whole person and helps move individuals from illness to health. More than 1,500 clients benefit annually from East House services, which are provided by more than 170 employees. Since 1966, East House has been offering personalized care that meets each person´s needs while advocating for the better understanding and acceptance of mental health and substance use issues in the community. East House is funded by the NYS Office of Mental Health, NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services; Monroe County; client fees; and donations. Through multiple locations, we continue to move lives forward each day. For more information, visit here.

East House Mission:
The mission of East House is to empower individuals with mental health and substance use disorders to recover and to live healthy, fulfilling lives in their community.

East House Vision:
East House will become the behavioral health provider of choice for quality supportive housing, including a full range of recovery support services, in the Greater Rochester area.

Q3 Please indicate which category your organization falls under.

Community Based Organization

Q4 Innovation Executive Summary. Please describe the innovation, and how it addresses the social determinants of health. Please identify how the innovation addresses the 6 innovation criteria (i.e. ROI, scalability, feasibility, evidence–based support for innovation, relevance to the Medicaid population and speed to market).

East House´s Affinity Place is a peer run hospital diversion service in Rochester, NY which opened in May of 2015. Administered in collaboration with the Mental Health Association of Rochester (MHA), Affinity Place provides a peer–based, recovery–oriented alternative to existing intensive and costly acute crisis services. Affinity Place guests must be able to benefit from a short–term diversion program and have medial and behavioral health conditions sufficiently managed. The average length of stay at Affinity Place is 3 to 5 days and guests are provided with follow up on their progress from MHA Peer Supports for up to 30 or 60 days to ensure they are able to link to community resources and to give the guest continuity in their recovery. NOTE: A guests are limited by their number of visits: no more than 7 days per 30 days and no more than 21 days per calendar year.

Affinity Place is a no fee service. The site, which is staffed 24 hours per day, has 8 single bedrooms, a commons kitchen area, bathrooms, a community living area, laundry facilities and a staff office. The property is well–served by public transportation and easily accessible to other amenities. All Affinity Place guests are responsible for bringing their own food and personal hygiene items to the site. Affinity Place guests can come and go as they please. If guests need to go to work, appointments or scheduled meetings, they may do so. Guests are asked to utilize a sign in/out sheet when they opt to leave the premises.

All Affinity Place staff are peers who have or will be working toward completing the New York State Peer Certification. Peers are individuals who identify as living with a mental illness who provide guidance, mentoring, as well as support to others who are experiencing crisis. The Affinity Place peer support specialists have training in Trauma–Informed care, Motivational Interviewing, Crisis Intervention, WRAP Planning, the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, Person–Centered Care, Warm–line Screening and Group Facilitation. All services at Affinity Place have been developed to respond to crisis by identifying solutions and coping skills to manage stress; linking the guest to community resources to reinforce recovery; and developing a personalized plan. The services are presented to guests in a menu format, allowing them to select options they feel will benefit them most. A sample menu would include: recovery support groups, one– on–one coaching, exercise groups, yoga, meditation, musical groups including drumming, arts and crafts groups, WRAP planning groups and a community outing.

Guests are regularly linked to community resources. For example, guests who are HARP eligible are linked with Health Home Care Management Services or guests experiencing domestic violence can be linked to local nonprofits.

For an individual to get access to Affinity Place, they call the registration line and complete a quick telephone pre–registration. If the guest meets the eligible criteria and space is available, that person is immediately welcomed. One of the key benefits of this program is for individuals in crisis to get immediate access to services.

Affinity Place also offers a warm line service, which is operated 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The Affinity Place warm line is available to individuals who are experiencing some crisis and who would benefit from talking to a peer.

Affinity Place is located in Monroe County, NY but serves Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

Program Results
In 2017, Affinity Place had 677 pre–registrations, 529 registrations, and 270 unduplicated registrations. Of the 270 guests, 229 completed an exit survey and 195 said that they were able to use Affinity Place as a diversion from emergency services/hospital emergency department.

In the first quarter of 2018, there were 166 pre–registrations, 135 registrations, and 72 unduplicated registrations. Of the 72 guests, 60 completed an exit survey and 55 state that they were able to use Affinity Place as a diversion from emergency services/hospital emergency department.

The Affinity Place warm line received 3,258 calls in 2017. In the first quarter of 2018, the warm line received 1,187 calls. Warm line calls may consist of: individuals needing immediate crisis support; individuals who are homebound, isolated and lonely; individuals with feelings of suicide (with no specific plan); people who need to talk about stressors, individuals experiencing a panic attack; former guests wanting to connect; individuals looking for resources or information.

Return on Investment:
Affinity Place provides immediate crisis support for less than a typical emergency services visit would cost. Beyond the ROI, this service gives individuals who are nearing a crisis the opportunity to self–refer to an option other than a hospital or emergency services that may exasperate their anxiety or stressors. It gives the individual more control over their recovery and treatment.

The Affinity Place model can easily accommodate additional beds or locations if funding is allowed. This model can be duplicated in any other neighborhood, town, city or region.

The program costs are less than emergency services and allow the guest to guide their own recovery with the support of Affinity Place peers.

Evidence based support for innovation
Since opening in 2015, Affinity Place has touched the lives of hundreds of individuals in recovery with mental illness and substance use disorders. The program results are extremely positive and offer an alternative to emergency crisis services. The community is using the resource and usage is increasing year over year.

Relevance to Medicaid Population
Affinity Place provides a no fee service. Typically, more than half of the Affinity Place guests are Medicaid recipients. The balance of guests that may or may not have health coverage are linked to community resources including health home care management services to ensure their health and speed to market.

Speed to Market
East House had an available property and improvements and updates were made to prepare the property for the transition to Affinity Place. A local artist donated time to paint a mural in the community Zen room space. Affinity Place and East House staff presented information to local providers and community–based organizations throughout six counties to educate on the different Affinity Place services. A customized guest book was created for Affinity Place guests to help advise them on their ‘menu´ of available recovery options and location resources. All in all, the site was up and running within six months and it continues to attract new guests each day. In closing, it is important to note that East House has received a great deal of support from Monroe County Office of Mental Health for this initiative and their support of the program is key. Recently, the Monroe County OMH office has communicated that they are pleased with the program results to date.

Q5 Was your innovation implemented? If so, please explain when, the number of people impacted, and the results.

Yes (please specify when and the estimated number of people impacted):

In 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, 342 individuals were served through Affinity Place and 4445 warm line calls were received.

Q6 Please identify the SDH Domain that your innovation addresses. (Select all that apply.)

Social and Community Context,

Health and Health Care,

Q7 I give the Department of Health the right to share the information submitted in this application publicly (for example: on the DOH website). I understand that there is no monetary reward/reimbursement for my submission or for attending the summit should my innovation be selected.

I consent to have my innovation shared