Although all health centers provide care to people with limited incomes, the Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) program provides targeted funding to meet the needs of those living without stable housing. Collectively, health centers serve 1.3 million individuals experiencing homelessness each year, with about 1 million of these individuals served by the 300 health centers that receive HCH funding.
People who experience homelessness incur a number of health issues on the streets or in shelters, and being without housing can exacerbate current health conditions. People without homes endure higher rates of chronic and acute disease, behavioral health conditions, and other needs that make them particularly vulnerable to poor health, disability, and early death. HCH’s provide high-quality, comprehensive primary and behavioral health care, case management, outreach, and other supportive services to meet the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Due to the nature of homelessness, services are intentionally provided in trauma-informed ways that provide healing, choice, safety, and trust while honoring consumers as partners in care and experts in their own lives.
National Health Center Week is a time to honor and celebrate the work being done at HCHs and to advocate for policies that end homelessness by providing comprehensive housing and health care as a human right. Learn more and find ways to get involved with HCH day on the National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s page or by contacting Katherine Cavanaugh, Consumer Advocate at the National Health Care for the Homeless Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-703-1320.