Father Joe’s Villages has established a new project to benefit the homeless population, the Street Health Program, which the charity characterizes as the first initiative of its kind in San Diego.
The program will focus on providing consistent medical services directly to people living on the streets.
Doctors already working with Father Joe’s Villages at its on-site medical clinic have begun taking teams out to the streets to provide primary care. The program, in its pilot stage, has served about a dozen people so far.
Father Joe’s Villages cites local experts whose research indicates that 30 percent of those who are homeless have complex medical needs but still do not seek help.
“Many of the people we meet are facing major physical and psychological barriers. Going to the doctor may be a simple task for you and I, but it can be a complicated and frustrating process for these patients,” says Dr. Jeffrey Norris, medical director of Father Joe’s Villages.
The new program is designed to allow Father Joe’s Villages to build relationships with these patients over time as their health needs are addressed. A long-term goal, officials said, is to encourage homeless people to seek medical care regularly and to tap into social services that can help them find permanent shelter.
The program is set to expand over the next year, with the goal of sending physicians out daily and adding dental care and even psychiatric care to the services offered.
“Over time, our goal is that our neighbors in need will be more willing to make it into the clinic regularly and engage in all the ways we can help them get back on their feet and move off the streets for good,” says Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe’s Villages.
For more information, see my.neighbor.org.
–- Staff Reports
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