8 Woodland Place has served a lot of purposes since its construction in the late 1800s, but it seems that the latest addition to the space, currently a women's shelter, has brought it all together.
“This is really a coming of full circle,” Jason Shaplen, CEO of , said. “This building started as a community health center.”
Once serving immigrant populations in Stamford's South End during the 1800s, today’s 8 Woodland Place now features a collaboration between St. Luke’s LifeWorks and Optimus Health Care that will provide seamless health care to both St. Luke’s clients and the underserved in the community.
Located below the women's shelter and in close proximity to both a transitional housing complex and a transitional and permanent housing complex for people living with AIDS — The Clinic @ Woodland is poised to change lives and set a bold example of how homelessness and healthcare organizations can work together to secure a healthier future for all.
“We are committed to addressing not just the physical, but the underlying reasons that a person is homeless,” Shaplen said. “One of the missing pieces was really healthcare.”
Built by St. Luke’s own maintenance staff in an unused section of office space — The Clinic is small in scale, but designed to be large in its impact. Outfitted with two exam rooms and a small waiting room — the space is at once clean, without feeling clinical, private and secure, while located just down the street for many future patients.
“I know I have clients who can use this,” Denise Dagesse, Program Manager at Colony Apartments, said. “Many are reluctant to go to doctors, but this will help, it’s so convenient.”
One of the most exciting features of Optimus and SLLW’s partnership is the methods they are developing to share information. With confidentiality agreements in place, the medical team, housing coordinators, and employment counselors will be able to discuss the client as a whole, setting aside time once a week to go over each client's case.
“We’ll know what Optimus is working on downstairs and be able to work on it upstairs,” Shaplen said. “We’ll know to call on Tuesday and say, “Your prescription runs out Friday, do you know how to get it refilled?””
“When agencies can agree on their goals and how to reach them, great things happen,” Ludwig Spinelli, CEO of Optimus, said. “We really are right where we should be.”
In addition to clients of SLLW, the Clinic will also be open to the general community where it will provide services for the underserved and uninsured, particularly in the South End neighborhood.
“This facility has been a beacon of hope for so long — I expect that to continue,” State Senator Carlo Leone said.