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30 years

Thousands of individuals find themselves homeless in greater Boston every year. Among them are chronically ill adults, veterans, families with school-age children, and the elderly. They are the people who stay in emergency shelters or motel rooms, eat in soup kitchens, or visit drop-in centers. They are also the men and women who find themselves on the streets, trying to survive in makeshift shelters under bridges, down alleyways, and behind city buildings.

Over 12,000 homeless men, women, and children are cared for by Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program each year. We are committed to ensuring that every one of these individuals has access to comprehensive health care, from preventative dental care to cancer treatment. Our clinicians, case managers, and behavioral health professionals work in more than 60 locations to deliver the highest quality health care to some of our community’s most vulnerable—and most resilient—citizens.  

Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor
by Dr. Jim J. O'Connell

Dr. O'Connell’s collection of stories and essays, written during thirty years of caring for homeless persons in Boston, gently illuminates the humanity and raw courage of those who struggle to survive and find meaning and hope while living on the streets.

Learn more about the book.

Latest News

Warren Magee Patient Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program

“I was born with cerebral palsy. I weighed one pound, three ounces when I was born. I wasn't supposed to live longer than six months, and I am 47 years of age, and I am truly blessed. I suffered a spinal cord injury the summer of '98, and that pretty much tells it all. 

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Father Boroughs, trustees, distinguished faculty, my fellow honorary degree recipients, proud parents, family, friends, and especially to all of you, the new graduates of the Class of 2017, I am deeply grateful and humbled by this invitation to address you today. I cannot tell you how proud and astonished we were when Fr. Boroughs came and visited us in Boston at our main clinic and respite care program back in January. We have lived in relatively blissful obscurity for many years, and it was the first time we had a distinguished college president come to visit.  So we thought we had arrived.

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BOSTON -- It’s Friday morning in Boston, which means Dr. Jim O’Connell is making his rounds.  

He might be a little more comfortable inside a warm exam room, but that’s not where his patients are. O’Connell is Boston’s only doctor left still making house calls to the homeless.

Nearly 600,000 Americans are homeless, and many have health problems with no access to care. O’Connell and his nationally renowned team of “street doctors” are doing something about it, treating about 700 regular patients.

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