Category: Homelessness

Community Health Net’s Alison Davis is All Heart and Soul

If you weren’t aware, Community Health Net – primarily located in Erie’s downtown at 1202 State Street – is Erie, Pennsylvania’s largest Federally Qualified Health Center. The organization has served the community for over 35 years. The team at “CHN,” as its staff and patients affectionately call Community Health Net, provides individuals and families with high-quality health care – medical, dental, vision, behavioral health, and pharmacy services – regardless of a person’s ability to pay. The organization, with 7 locations in the region, is home to a cadre of about 100 staff and clinicians who love Erie and live and breathe the organization’s mission: to improve the quality of life in our region by providing professional healthcare services with compassion, respect, and dignity to all.

We could describe any of the many people who make up Community Health Net and their commitment to the community. However, there is the story of one person at CHN who defines the words “heart and soul.” She embodies community, stands for dignity and respect, genuinely loves people, and has given her life to and immersed herself in caring for individuals and families of all walks of life and socioeconomic status. Her name is Alison Davis, LPN.

We asked Mrs. Davis what drives her to help people. “My mother was my role model. She was a pediatric nurse,” said Alison Davis, a 16-year veteran LPN. “She would always talk about her patients and how much she loved them.” So when Alison told her mother about her plans to become a nurse, she replied: “If you can love people, be concerned about them, and put them ahead of yourself, then you can.” Alison has lived by those words. She truly loves being a nurse. However, even more so, she loves building life-long relationships with the individuals she cares for.

Mrs. Davis is a transplant to Erie, leaving her roots in Havana, Florida, over 15 years ago. She worked for Community Health Net most of her career in its Healthcare for the Homeless program. “CHN does not turn anyone away from good, adequate care,” she said as she expressed why she works for the organization. Mrs. Davis sees many people that remind her of her brother, who could not care for himself after suffering a stroke and dementia alone. That learned experience provided a profound perspective that increased her capacity to genuinely and deeply empathize with her patients, often extending herself after-hours to care for their needs. “Many of the patients in the program do not have family members who will support them. They need someone who isn’t going to judge them when they come in the door. They deserve to be seen and cared for with respect. We need to have compassion for people.”

Allison’s genuine love for people, along with the many other professionals of Community Health Net, gives her “Heart and Soul” and makes CHN vital to the place we call home.


If you love this story, consider donating to Community Health Net on Erie Gives Day on Tuesday, August 9th.  Your donation helps ensure Erie remains healthy and vibrant and will help improve the healthcare outcomes for people in our communities. Make your voice count! Thank you in advance for your support!

If you have any questions, contact Mary Lynn Slivinski, Director of Administrative Services, at or 814-454-4530 ext. 227.



A Special Thanks to Wabtec!

? ??????? ??????! Our friends at Wabtec conducted online donation campaigns and then partnered with Erie Apparel to find the best deal on a large number of quality socks. They also had donation bins in buildings at Wabtec. ?? ?????, ?? ???????? ??? ????? ?? ?????! Also, Mr. Schaaf’s wife donated four of her handmade new double-layer fleece blankets.

Thank you for your generosity and commitment to the Erie community from the staff of Community Health Net!

In the photos are Sherrai Holland, Healthcare for the Homeless Coordinator, and Andy Schaaf, Wabtec.

Community Health Net Begins 3-Year Process to Develop Local Medical Respite for the Homeless

Erie, Pa. – December 17, 2020 – Community Health Net, the leading Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the Lake Erie region, announced that it was accepted into a special initiative of the National Institute for Medical Respite Care. The 3-year learning collaborative process will result in a medical respite program for the Lake Erie region’s homeless population.

“We see this prestigious opportunity as a way to develop a much needed, strong and sustainable respite program for our community,” said Kathy Howard, Director of Operations, Community Health Net. The organization was accepted into the special initiative, called the National Health Care for the Homeless Medical Respite New Start Initiative, after a rigorous application process. Few organizations were invited. “This effort will provide a clear path for members of the homeless community to receive lifesaving care.”

Medical respite care is acute and post-acute medical care for people experiencing homelessness who are too ill or frail to recover from a physical illness or injury on the streets but are not sick enough to be in a hospital. These programs provide short-term residential services (often in a shelter or transitional program) coupled with support services and medical care access.

“This is a great opportunity to serve our community in a greater capacity,” said Sherrai Holland, Homeless Program Coordinator.  Medical respite programs are uniquely positioned to coordinate care for a complex population of patients who may otherwise face barriers to navigate and engage in support systems adequately.  It provides participants the opportunity to access medical and supportive services needed to assist their recuperation. “We look forward to learning how to develop the framework necessary to become a center of excellence for medical services to our homeless community.”

Respites for the homeless differs from “caregiver respite,” skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice care, and supportive housing programs.  Many programs exist as partnerships between two or more organizations that provide services that have a unique opportunity to influence the long-term health and quality of life outcomes for individuals experiencing homelessness.

“The result of this initiative will help us to build upon our strategic goal, to develop systems that will have a transformational impact on the region’s health care indicators,” said Craig Ulmer, CEO of Community Health Net. Characteristics of Medical Respite Care closes the gap between hospitals/emergency rooms and homeless shelters that do not have the capacity to provide medical and support services and provide a low-cost, high-quality, and innovative discharge option to aid emergency room diversion and hospital discharge options. “Primarily, this opportunity will help us to fulfill our mission, to improve the quality of life in our region, by providing professional healthcare services, with compassion, respect, and dignity to all.”

The media is invited to contact Community Heath Net for comment. 814.454.4530 x227


About Community Health Net
Community Health Net is the preeminent, community-focused healthcare network that advances the wellness of the region.  Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our region by providing professional healthcare services, with compassion, respect, and dignity to all. We are a Federally Qualified Health Center with seven locations serving the Lake Erie region for over 35 years.



Community Health Net

Mary Lynn Slivinski

Director of Administrative Services

814.454.4530 x227

phone number