Home / Defer OSHA Inspections with SHARP / 2009 SHARP Recipients / Community Partnership for Homeless--Miami and Homestead

Community Partnership for Homeless--Miami and Homestead

Community Partnership for Homeless--Miami and Homestead

Members of Miami's CPH team proudly hold their SHARP flag and award

Feeding and housing 702 homeless residents each day is no small task. Keeping the residents safe as well as its 140 employees is no minor job either. Community Partnership for Homeless (CPH) is a non-profit organization in Miami with two locations ...

Feeding and housing 702 homeless residents each day is no small task. Keeping the residents safe as well as its 140 employees is no minor job either. Community Partnership for Homeless (CPH), http://www.cphi.org/, is a non-profit organization in Miami with two locations—The Chapman Center, a two-acre homeless assistance center downtown, and the South Miami-Dade Center, part of an eight-acre campus located in Homestead. Both facilities earned their first SHARP award this year, making CPH the only non-profit in the state of Florida to currently have this safety honor.

Since 1995, CPH has assisted homeless men, women and children transition off of Miami’s streets and into self-sustaining lives. The shelters take a comprehensive approach to homelessness, providing individuals with a variety of social services such as health care, daycare, relocation assistance and job training for a 60-90 day period. CPH has become a national model, with 61.58% of its former residents moving off the streets and into a life of self-sufficiency.

According to Lois Schlam, director of human resources, “The safety of both our residents and employees is paramount.” Four years ago, Schlam found USF SafetyFlorida through a web search and contacted them to request a safety consultation. “Kitchen safety for our volunteers and staff needed to be addressed, as well as the safety for the nearly 200 children we house. The kids were exposed to water fountain slips and falls from bunk beds.” CPH addressed those issues by placing bars on the bunk beds and addressing slip and fall issues near water fountains and in the kitchen. Within two years the shelters earned USF SafetyFlorida’s Sunshine State Safety Recognition Award. “Once we earned the Sunshine State, I knew we wanted more and the SHARP became next on our list,” added Schlam.

Jessica Bohan, the USF SafetyFlorida consultant who works with CPH, assisted the program with designing a safety and health management system. This system includes walk-throughs that are conducted daily, weekly and monthly, as well as a safety team that comprises members from the kitchen, maintenance, management and their insurance company. “We run ourselves like a corporation and have a very professional board and staff,” said Schlam. “We have buy-in from top management and understand that saving lives is critical when dealing with so many people.” That volume of people also includes nearly 13,000 who volunteer at the shelters on an annual basis.

CPH understands the importance of saving Miami-Dade’s homeless from the streets as well as keeping them safe while under supervision. Since implementing its safety and health management system, CPH’s number of workers’ compensation claims has dropped approximately 50%, and within the last two years workers’ compensation premiums have been reduced by 17%. This cost savings helps CPH do an even better job of what it does best—taking care of Miami-Dade’s homeless.