All CHCs provide affordable, culturally competent services to vulnerable populations in their communities. Some CHCs provide services targeted at the homeless population. Individuals experiencing homelessness face many barriers to accessing the care they need such as affordability, transportation, and availability of services, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment.
People living on the streets are more likely to be victims of violence and to be exposed to harsh weather conditions. Healing from wounds or illnesses is much harder without a safe, warm place to do so. It becomes very difficult to prioritize health needs when finding shelter, food, and safety are consistent struggles. Without a stable place to live, chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are extremely difficult to manage.
CHCs throughout Colorado are helping to meet complex needs of individuals experiencing homelessness. CHCs are having an important impact on people experiencing homelessness in their communities. Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Metro Community Provider Network, Peak Vista Community Health Centers, and Pueblo Community Health Center, Inc. – four of Colorado CHCs – provided services to 5,375 individuals experiencing homelessness in 2013.
Besides having accessible locations and sliding fee scales for individuals who do not have insurance or incomes, CHCs provide comprehensive services so that their patients can access not only medical but also dental, vision, and behavioral health services. CHCs also offer enabling services such as case management and health education, which provide additional support to vulnerable populations.
As a way to remember homeless persons who lived and died on the streets in 2014, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is hosting a candlelight vigil. The annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil will be held in Denver on December 17, 2014, from 5:30-6:15 p.m. on the steps of the Denver City and County building. The event will be held regardless of weather and is open to the public.
CHCs offer opportunities for health professionals interested in working with homeless patients to play a role in ensuring that patients receive high quality care. In addition to physicians, mid-level clinical providers, and clinical support staff who provide primary medical care, some of the positions available at CHCs include:
- Case Managers: provide outreach services, case management services, and brief psychosocial assessments to homeless individuals.
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker: work with patients with emotional, behavioral, mental health, and substance use issues. Provide assessment, consultation, education and brief therapeutic interventions.
- Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians: ensure patients receive the appropriate and affordable medications to help manage health care needs.
- Program Coordinators: coordinate a specific program, project or function that helps assist the CHC to meet objectives.
Are you interested in joining a team at one of Colorado’s CHCs providing care to individuals experiencing homelessness? The four CHCs listed below offer services specific to the needs of homeless patients. Please visit their linked career pages for more information about available positions.
- Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
- Metro Community Provider Network
- Peak Vista Community Health Centers
- Pueblo Community Health Center, Inc.