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LEEWAY’S MISSION

Leeway, an integral part of the continuum of AIDS care, is committed to being a center of excellence in providing inpatient rehabilitative and palliative care so that those with AIDS can live as independently as possible. This expert care is respectfully provided with compassion and without regard to race, national origin, age, religion, handicap, gender or sexual orientation with a focus on the integration of body, mind, and spirit. We are committed to promoting quality of life and dignity to all those with HIV/AIDS.

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About Leeway

A Message from Leeway’s Executive Director

Executive Director

Welcome to Leeway, founded in 1995 by the late great Catherine Kennedy. Catherine, a graduate from the School of Management at Yale University had a vision and dream to care for the individuals and families suffering with the HIV/AIDS virus in the New Haven Community. Leeway is a licensed (30) bed chronic nursing facility with (30) Residential Care Beds and (41) Units of Housing.We are the sole facility in Connecticut that serves only individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Today, Leeway Inc has serves, cares for, and gives a second chance at life to all of our residents. As you will see on all our communications, “HOPE happened at Leeway”.

The Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, Physical Therapist, all other clinical staff, Admissions staff, Business office staff, Chaplin office, Environmental Associates, Dietary Associates and Security Associates are all part of a team that truly keeps hope alive at Leeway. Despite our long history of serving residents throughout the Connecticut area and surrounding states, many of you don’t know that we are here and can help.

HIV/AIDS has attacked all levels of our communities at every socioeconomic strata and continues to leave its mark. The good news is that the treatment of HIV/AIDS has transformed the disease from fatal to chronic. That means that we now have the ability to treat HIV/AIDS successfully and at Leeway we see the miracles of treatment happening every day.

We provide many services at Leeway to support our residents’ needs. Besides excellent direct clinical care we have many services for addictions. We also provide supportive housing for the community and many of our Leeway Alumni. If you have not visited Leeway, I hope that you take a moment to learn more about Leeway as we are today and how we can help you and your loved ones.

Leeway is fully accredited by the State of Connecticut and maintains the strongest dedication to providing both quality of care and quality of life for our patients and residents. This is why we say, “HOPE happens at Leeway.” These are not just words to us; it is our mission, our vision and our commitment.

Sincerely,

Heather Aaron
Executive Director Leeway Inc.

History

“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.” – Frederick Buechner.

Catherine Kennedy, Founder of Leeway

Catherine Kennedy, Founder of Leeway

It is the rare individual that recognizes a need in their community and immediately takes action to find a solution. In those instances where a response to a community crisis is given, it is rare to find the legacy of an individual and an entire organization so many years later still answering the call of that need. Catherine Kennedy has forever left her imprint on the community with the founding of Leeway.

The Beginning: Catherine’s Story

On the heels of a move in the early 1980’s to New Haven, CT from her native England, with her husband and three children in tow, Catherine Kennedy dove into community betterment as a volunteer. She quickly became a member of the New Haven community who was known and loved for her commitment to helping others.

Before her arrival in America, Catherine taught economics. The more volunteer work she endeavored, the more important it became to combine her theoretical knowledge of economics with her experiential work. She was sure that enrollment in the Yale School of Management would carve a path to a new, more practical career.

Graduation in 1986 led to a position with a major insurance company in Hartford as a consultant in the Employee Benefits Division. A few months of analyzing public policy relating to health insurance and pension benefits, Catherine struggled to maintain her expectation of making a difference as an agent of change. She believed there were gross inequities in the health care system and the work became a source of frustration.

By 1987 she worked to balance the responsibilities that come with nurturing three children and her full-time job. At the end of the day there was little time left for volunteer work; little time to feel like she was making a real difference for others. A discussion with her chaplain turned her attention to the critical issue of HIV/AIDs.

The Idea: Leeway’s Story

Having absolutely no knowledge of HIV/AIDS or the communities it affected, Catherine began her education on the subject at our colleague organization, AIDS Project New Haven. In 1987 there was only one form of in-patient care available to individuals with HIV/AIDS, acute care in a hospital setting. After an acute episode, AIDS patients had to remain at the hospital, as there wasn’t a place for them to go for the appropriate level of care. Catherine immediately recognized a need for a hospice dedicated to individuals with HIV/AIDS.

The Plan

The years of planning for Leeway would bring endless hours of research, exploring best practices of existing models of AIDS Hospice and care, public policy debates and lobbying to build in the appropriate allowances that would enable cost-effective and quality care at Leeway. Ultimately Catherine landed on the nursing home model as the best fit for the needs of individuals with HIV/AIDS.

All Catherine needed now was an administrator’s license. She acted quickly and enrolled at the University of Connecticut for the appropriate course and began the required internship. Myriad meetings, conversations, introductions, and networking, networking, networking; and Catherine began to make progress in cultivating relationships that would help her bring her idea to fruition. She began to assemble a board of directors from colleagues she had worked with, individuals that surfaced through networking, and strong business and minority leaders throughout the community.

Then began the learning curve of finance for a nursing home, appropriate staffing for people with AIDS, who needed much more nursing care than the other models of skilled-nursing facilities. Then there was the daunting task of clearly articulating the need for Leeway. Eight years of grueling effort would pass before Leeway would open its doors.

The Opening

In the fall of 1995, we accepted our first resident at Leeway. Each year a celebration, Jose Day, is held to honor that occasion. Over the years many have come to Leeway for a chance at a new beginning, or to obtain the care needed to end their battle with AIDS with dignity. Leeway continues to be a nimble organization, responding to the specific and ever-changing needs of individuals living with HIV/AIDS. As advancements in technology and medicine continue, so do we continue to adapt and respond to the needs of our residents and supportive housing tenants. Follow the Leeway time line for a picture of how our organization has evolved since opening; or stay up-to-date with current events and news at Leeway.

“Average people and the average community can change the world. You can do it just based on common sense, determination, persistence and patience.”
~ Lois Gibbs

Catherine singlehandedly changed the world. Support Leeway and help her legacy continue to touch individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

Timeline:

  • 1995: Leeway opened its doors to provide care, comfort, and compassion to individuals with HIV/AIDS.
  • 1996: Leeway’s medical staff adds antiretroviral medication to care plans and adds a spiritual support program for residents and families.
  • 1997: Leeway actively recruits and utilizes volunteers in an effort to create more community involvement. Complementary medicine is added to the care regimen.
  • 1998: The Catherine Kennedy Foundation is created to help ensure the longevity of the organization.
  • 1999: Leeway hosts the National Conference on AIDS and Long Term Care.
  • 2000: Leeway adds 10 additional beds to its 30 bed facility.
  • 2001: Leeway begins to explore supportive housing needs and options for people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • 2002: Leeway increases advocacy activity at the State Capitol. The organization creates a Speakers Program to present prevention and awareness programs to schools and community organizations.
  • 2003: Leeway expands medical services to include behavioral health care.
  • 2004: A Therapeutic Recreation department is added to the services offered at Leeway.
  • 2005: Leeway manages 5 supportive housing units.
  • 2006: The Leeway Alumni Organization is founded.
  • 2007: Leeway purchases the Leeway-Welton property for supportive housing expansion.
  • 2007: Leeway launched the Alumni Society for discharged residents, community support and advocacy
  • 2008: The Medicaid AIDS waiver presents new opportunities for Leeway.
  • 2009: Leeway launches the Quality of Life initiative.
  • 2010: The Leeway-Putnam supportive housing 17 unit independent housing with case management grand opening
  • 2011: Construction begins for Leeway-Welton 10 unit independent housing with case management
  • 2012: Leeway-Welton 10 unit independent housing with case management grand opening
  • 2013: Residential Housing established
  • 2013: Resident Housing established.
  • 2013: Leeway Inc. opened its Residential Care Transitional Housing unit with 10 beds
  • 2013: Leeway implemented Patient Care Clinical Computer System
  • 2013: Leeway began the implementation of a comprehensive holistic Behavioral Health Program
  • 2014: Ground broken for an additional 20 Residential Housing beds.
  • 2014: Leeway continues advocacy at the legislature to secure the future of her mission
  • 2014: Leeway awarded bond funding by (DSS) of (3) million for addition of (20) Residential Care Beds
  • 2014: Brick Campaign Initiated for the Catherine Kennedy Memorial Gardens
  • 2014: Leeway quarterly Gazette started distribution
  • 2014: Leeway purchased (5) additional units for independent living
  • 2015: October grand opening of the new wing of Residential Care (30) Beds

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