It is often hard for the homeless to find time to make a doctor’s appointment. Whether it has to do with not KNOWING where to go, putting other things before health care, or being unable to transport yourself there like many homeless who may live in supportive housing many of the homeless do not have a lot of access to health care.
However, HRSA (the Health Resources and Services Administration) has just made it possible for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to partner with supportive housing and homeless outreach teams to provide health care for their clients. In early December of 2010, HRSA announced that they will be granting $270 to $335 million to FQHCs throughout the nation to continue to serve the medically uninsured and underinsured. And, the homeless fall right into this category. The administration is offering this funding mainly to allow a doctor on outreach staff and increasing case management for residents who live in supportive housing.
Providing health care for the homeless in the right manner takes full wrap-around care consisting of outreach, engagement, medical care, behavioral health, case management, and life skills training. HealthNet‘s network of FQHCs and Homeless Initiative Program work together to meet these needs. A doctor is present with our Outreach team one day a week, and our staff in each FQHC are willing to work with anyone who steps through the door!
HRSA is providing the basis for health care for the homeless programs to start and expand; however, many of these funds are not sufficient. You can be a part of providing health care for those who need it most by spreading awareness about local programs who provide health care for the homeless like HIP, or by donating directly to HealthNet’s HIP team.
Learn more about HRSA’s funding at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s website.