Non-profit helps once homeless mom, baby get healthy and find home

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LONGWOOD -

A program in the borough is aiming to help society's most vulnerable to get healthy. 

Dilenia Rodriguez and her baby Sophia have been through their share of struggles, and now can say they are happy and healthy.

During the worst of their hardships, Sophia was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and a heart defect all while they were living in a shelter. 
 
“We were, you know, being shifted around, we were homeless, it was a lot, it was challenging,” says Rodriguez.

For many families entering the city's shelter system, their first connection to health care is through the New York Children's Health Project. It's a program that sees about 3,000 homeless patients each year, both adults and children. Many of whom live in the Bronx. 

It's how the mother and daughter were introduced to the clinic.

“The amount of resources that we've gotten here are just endless, so I'm super, super grateful,” says Rodriguez.

They came to the Children's Health Fund for care after Sophia's heart surgery at just 11 weeks old, but doctors and social workers also helped Rodriguez manage anxiety and drop more than 50 pounds.

They also assisted in her search for a home, which the family moved into in January.

The non-profit offers life-changing resources that are helping this family and others to live better.

“We do have case management services here to help people, to connect them to resources that they need, because you can treat the medical illnesses, but it's really all the stuff that surrounds them in their lives that are preventing them from getting well, so you have to address those things also,” says Dr. Scott Ikeada, director of New York Children's Health Project.

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