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According to the 2023 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, over 75,000 people experience homelessness in the county on any given night. In the San Fernando Valley alone, an estimated 10,433 people are unhoused, marking a 9 percent increase from the previous year.
High housing costs, economic insecurity, substance use disorders and mental illness are leading causes of homelessness. Having a safe, stable place to live and sleep is essential to a person’s health and wellbeing. It is also imperative for people to access quality medical and mental health care.
Without treatment, chronic health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to serious illness and even death. Behavioral health issues such as depression and alcoholism also can worsen. And, even minor issues such as cuts, wounds or common colds can easily develop into larger health issues such as infections or pneumonia.
Thanks to funding provided by Providence Health Services, SFCHC is launching a new Mobile Medical Services program this fall to directly serve unhoused individuals in our service area. Through this program, trained mobile medical team members will be dispatched to targeted safe parking areas to directly connect with those who are unhoused.
Deploying in a mobile van equipped with basic medical supplies, the team will perform services on location including medical and behavioral health screenings, health and benefits education, wound dressing and infection care, testing and vaccines, and linkage to ongoing services at SFCHC or other community sites.
“Individuals who are homeless are three times more likely to become ill and up to four times more likely to die than the general population,” said SFCHC Special Projects Director Heidi Lennartz. “We are transforming the traditional model of healthcare service delivery by connecting with individuals and families who are living with the complexities of homelessness. Our mission is to meet clients where they are on the street, rather than within the four walls of a clinic, office or hospital.”