Forty percent of the homeless population in the United States is made up of families -- parents and children -- who need all the same things the rest of us do -- food, shelter, clothing, and health care. Over the past several months, On Call, which is an online magazine published by the Boston Globe for allied health professionals, has been running a series of articles on agencies in Massachusetts that are working to address the health needs of the members of this underclass. They are well worth the look.
The current article by Susan Wessling describes the work being done by nurses who work with the Mercy Medical Center's Health Care for the Homeless program in Springfield, Massachusetts. The program provides "on-site care at 46 locations—shelters, soup kitchens, job placement sites, transitional programs—and on the street. Services—which include assessment, intervention, episodic care, referrals, follow-up appointments, and education—are delivered in three counties (Hampden, Franklin and Hampshire) across 1,800 square miles."
In an article that appeared in August, On Call writer Janet Cromer and photographer David Stone accompanied a woman who was an inpatient at the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program's McInnis House as the facilities were moved to a new location.
And in an April article Janet Cromer wrote an interesting overview of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program's effort to ensure health care for families in the greater Boston area.
On Call's editor Joseph Saling says in an editor's note that the final article in the series will describe the efforts of a street team in Boston that goes out from shelters to find homeless individuals on the street who need care. All three of the above articles are worth viewing. And I'm looking forward to reading the final article in the series.