The ABQ StreetConnect program serves 120 clients who are a part of a sub-population of persons experiencing chronic homelessness with mental illness, typically with co-occurring substance use disorders and physical ailments. Many ABQ StreetConnect clients are high utilizers of the criminal justice system, emergency medical systems (EMS), or emergency departments; just as concerning, some have never or rarely accessed healthcare services. Our navigators provide intensive case management and meet each of our clients where they are mentally and physically. This program would not be successful without our countless community partners.
One key partner for our ABQ StreetConnect team is Dr. Swala Abrams, a psychiatrist at Kaseman Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Abrams blocks out her time on Fridays to meet with any ABQ StreetConnect clients who are willing. During that time she provides medication management, stabilization, and other behavioral healthcare. Dr. Abrams has been a great liaison for our clients as they navigate medical services within the Presbyterian system and she is an incredible advocate for the ABQ StreetConnect program.
According to Dr. Abrams “locally, we have various Intensive Case Management programs, but they are designed for higher-functioning folks. They don’t address the fact that folks with primary psychotic illnesses, by virtue of their illness, have cognitive impairment. When we start saying that somebody needs to have goals and come to appointments, that’s really not accessible to somebody who hasn’t had any treatment for their mental health issues and has comorbid substance use. What’s different about ABQSC is that they are boots on the ground; they engage folks in care, which means bringing the care to them.”
We are thrilled to have Dr. Abrams as one of our key community partners! The type of outreach our ABQ StreetConnect team offers is data-driven and we wouldn’t be able to have this level of success without collaboration with the Albuquerque Police Department, UNM Hospital, City of Albuquerque, Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and countless others. To learn more about our program and the type of work they are doing click here and to watch a recent Educational Café session about our ABQ StreetConnect team and our partnership with the Albuquerque Police Department click here.