Medical Programs for Homeless

Letter to the Editor, September 9, 2014

Re: Too stigmatized to find a doctor

I read with great interest Carol Goar’s article about the initiative to educate family doctors about the homeless. I was certainly aware of this and am very glad that docs are getting educated.

I would like to clarify though that this is not the first initiative to provide service for the homeless. I’ve been working for 13 years at Regent Park Community Health Centre where for the past about 20 years, health and housing and social programs have been in place directed specifically for the homeless.

We run a drop-in for homeless men and women run by community workers and social workers with a housing worker on site. Our community workers and nurses do outreach in the community and to shelters as well.

We run a Hepatitis C program for folks with addictions and mental health issues for education and treatment run by community workers and docs and nurse practitioner (NP) with visiting consultants.

We also have a walk-in clinic for the homeless specifically where people can access a doctor or NP as needed. We have showers and other resources for homeless folks on our first floor and a psychiatrist who comes to the health centre weekly for both indirect and direct consultations. These are all busy and well utilized services.

This model is duplicated at other Community Health Centres such as Parkdale and Queen West Community Health Centre. Indeed this one of the mandates of inner city community health centres and has been so for quite some time.

Miriam Garfinkle

Related Topics: Community Health CentresHomeless/Services