The Healthcare Foundation is honored to support Health Access and Mental Health through an innovative Street Medicine program with the homeless population. With the support of our funding, Nurse Jaclyn Ramirez of Reach for Home is building trust with homeless community members, providing them with medical care and connecting them with other services.
“Street Medicine means bringing medical care to the streets, to the encampments, and engaging with individuals in their territory, on their terms,” says Jaclyn. Many of the people she’s working with are aging, or have untreated chronic conditions or injuries that need care. “A lot of them sometimes go years without being seen by a medical provider,” she explains, because they have not been treated with dignity and respect and don’t want to return.
Much of what Jaclyn and the Reach for Home team are doing is rebuilding that trust. Recently, Jaclyn was asked to check on a young woman living on the streets in Windsor who is pregnant. When Jaclyn arrived, they recognized each other immediately from an earlier meeting. “Because she trusted me,” Jaclyn says, “she’s now willing to move forward with that conversation.”
Jaclyn helped this woman get prenatal vitamins and is connecting her with medical providers for bloodwork, ultrasounds, and other prenatal treatment. Jaclyn will be at her side for every step of the way.
There are many reasons people become homeless, and it can take a constellation of services to stabilize them and get them back into housing. Addressing homeless individuals’ medical health is a vital part of that process. “Statistically speaking, when you provide housing and services, specifically medical and mental health services, you will see a reduction in the number of homeless,” says Colleen Carmichael, Reach for Home’s executive director. “When you don’t, you see an increase.”
The bottom line, Colleen says, is that the Healthcare Foundation’s support of the Street Medicine program means that lives are being saved, and that some of our most vulnerable community members are getting medical treatment they desperately need—treatment they wouldn’t get otherwise.
The Healthcare Foundation is able to support this unique and innovative program because so many of you have believed in us and our work. We’re extremely grateful for that trust. If you’d like to help us support this and other healthcare access programs making a difference for our neighbors, click here to make a donation.