As if homelessness wasn’t enough, one Detroit woman had other serious problems.
Suffering from cataracts, she was losing her vision, which put her at an even greater disadvantage while living on the street. With help from a Covenant Community Care health clinic she was able to get surgery through Kresge Eye Institute. But the woman surprised Covenant staff when she announced she’d return to living on the street, instead of in temporary housing. She’d been beaten at the last shelter, she said, and wandering was a safer option.
Covenant referred her to another community resource.
“Because of you that woman was connected with Southwest Housing Solutions and got into housing this year,” Covenant CEO Paul Propson told guests and program supporters at the organization’s “Courage to Care” breakfast at University of Detroit Mercy.
Not the stereotypical, under-funded, short-staffed outpatient clinic, Covenant celebrated stories like that of the ex-homeless woman during the fundraising event. With locations in Detroit and Royal Oak, the organization provides medical and dental services for families and individuals, regardless of their health insurance status.
Telling the audience Covenant serves 18,000 people, Propson quoted chapter six from the biblical Book of Galatians, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Propson reiterated the organization’s mission of “showing and sharing the love of God” through “integrated, affordable and quality health care.”
Dotti Sharp, Covenant board member, described how she discovered the clinic after losing health benefits at her job during an economic recession.
“My past, in thinking of clinics, was that they were very small, you’d be waiting all day,” said Sharp.
Covenant’s spacious, modern equipment and professional staff, who even offered to pray with her, were pleasant surprises.
“I was treated with respect from the receptionist all the way to the doctor,” she recalled. “They have top-notch doctors, top-notch nurses that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Sharp’s son Demond Sharp spoke of how his mother convinced him to visit Covenant after he suffered stomach pain. Following a turn for the worse while in the clinic’s care, he was rushed to the hospital and given surgery, but ultimately diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. He underwent chemotherapy and says he’s free from the disease today.
“Covenant was there,” he said. “Covenant was able to get me to that point. They treat you like a person, not like a patient, which is a big difference to me.”