Happy National Health Care for the Homeless Day!

Post by Mandy Stivers

Today is National Healthcare for the Homeless Day! Today gives the opportunity to recognize the work done by Health Centers around the country to help provide health care to the homeless.

I would like to say how proud I am to be able to work for the homeless! I get to travel around our beautiful city and meet some very interesting people. Some people may ask me why I love what I do. Well for starters, there is NEVER a boring day at my job! In homeless healthcare there are so many different needs ranging from mental health to physical health, one may never know what we might see. Sometimes I may be just an ear to listen to someone who feels they are never heard or just plain someone to talk to.

When I first started working for the homeless, I would go home at night with such a heavy heart. I would think to myself

How in the world could little ole me do anything to make these people’s lives any better?

Well seems to be, I have had many people come back just to say “Thank you.” They tell us that we have helped them in so many ways. We have helped mothers who worry about their child’s immunizations and let me tell you, we vaccinate every chance we get! More than 1,600 people in Indianapolis alone are homeless on any given day and almost twenty percent of these people are children. Also, we all know how expensive medications can run so we try to help our patient’s get the medicines they need without any cost to them. We can help get them set up with dental and vision services, which helps in finding employment. We also help expecting mothers get set up with primary care for prenatal services. The list is never ending.

Now when I go home each night, at times, my heart is still heavy for my people, but I keep thinking of what else I can do to help improve their lives. I actually like to wake in the morning and go to work! Not too many people can say that. I try to turn negative situations into something positive. This keeps me humble and I may have rubbed off on my children, because they are always offering to help others and they have a HUGE heart for our homeless population. Even better, they are proud of what their mom does!

HIP is always in need of donations to help clients and are grateful for any and all support. If you would like to make a donation to the HealthNet Homeless Initiative Program, click here.

For more information about the importance of health care for the homeless, visit www. nhchc.org.

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