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When you live on the streets or are living on the edge of homelessness, proper vision screenings are the last of your worries. Thanks to a marvelous program of Emory University, “Unite for Sight”, in collaboration with Georgia Lighthouse Foundation, the men of Clifton are receiving vision screenings and prescription glasses, if needed.
Jonathan Lin, VP for Unite For Sight and Tiffany Ellerbee, our representative from the Georgia Lighthouse Foundation have facilitated Clifton’s participation in this program. Unite For Sight students/volunteers come to Clifton and conduct the vision screenings. They provide vision testing monitors and conduct individual examinations on each guest. Once the examinations are complete, our healthcare case manager, Brenda Gales, delivers the results and paperwork to the Georgia Lighthouse Foundation. They then process the applications and contact those guests who meet the requirements for prescription glasses.
This program has been tremendously successful and there has been such a large demand for the program services that the process of getting a referral for professional fittings takes about 4-6 weeks. It is not unusual for the guest being served by Unite For Sight to have left Clifton by the time the appointment for their glasses fitting becomes available. Guests provide additional contact information when making application for services and they are encouraged to contact the foundation for follow up. This is another opportunity for us to educate the guests about taking charge of their own health – if they don’t follow up, they lose the opportunity to have glasses.
Additionally, The Lighthouse Foundation also provides a variety of strengths and styles of reading glasses. And being that the average age of a Clifton guest is 49 years old, those reading glasses surely come in handy for our guests.
We hope to expand our partnership to other agencies which would increae the number of sites where homeless individuals can obtain vision screenings. This program is yearning for additional collaborative partners to increase the number of sites where individuals who are homeless can receive this very needed service.