When Health Care for the Homeless Project (HCHP) was founded in 1985, co-founder Dr. Janelle Goetcheus, said, "We must go where the homeless are – in the shelters, on the streets, and under bridges." For 35 years, this vision has inspired Unity Health Care in our mission to meet the health care needs of the most vulnerable members of our society where they are, regardless of their ability to pay, and this vision will continue to guide efforts to strengthen our outreach in the years to come.
Mighty oaks from an acorn grow.
As I reflect on my own 30-years of service as CEO of Unity, I continue to be inspired by Dr. Goetcheus’ early vision. That "acorn" became a powerful resource for more than 100,000 D.C. residents and has remained central to the Unity mission as we’ve grown and broadened our service. By serving those experiencing homeless, living in underserved communities, incarcerated individuals, those displaced from their own countries, and many others, Unity has become a beacon of hope and healing in a fractured world.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as a leader in this organization and work collaboratively with so many whose commitment to our mission is as real today as it was in 1985. Sharing the core values of healing and hope with our dedicated staff and Board of Directors has been the hallmark of Unity’s 35-year legacy.
Our journey to the present has not been without challenges. This year is no different, as staff and patients have battled to contain the deadly COVID-19 virus and adjust to the massive disruptions in their lives. But I have witnessed over my time at Unity, and continue to witness today, the resilience of our staff and Board and their ability to bounce back and weather all types of storms. Unity has never seen these "storms" as barriers. Instead, we approach them as opportunities to adapt, innovate, address the needs of our community, and support one another.
Legacies belong to the past, but they can guide our future. We must now prepare for a future in which Unity will remain a premier medical home for those seeking quality, compassionate health services in a world where injustice and inequality can diminish the quality of life for so many. The skills, vision, and spirit that created HCHP will still be Unity's guiding star to a new and challenging future.
Thank you to our dedicated staff, partners, donors, and friends for your support. I have nothing but the most profound gratitude to all of you for what you do to make a difference in our patients' lives. It is thanks to you that we can say, “Happy 35th Anniversary Unity Health Care!”