Boston Health Care for the Homeless was founded in 1985 with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trust in response to the growth in homelessness in cities across the country. Our mission then and now is to assure quality health care for homeless individuals and families in the great Boston area.
What began as a four-year pilot program developed into a cost-effective, national model of providing comprehensive, compassionate health care to more than 12,000 vulnerable men, women and children each year.
Who: Our patients are men, women and children of all ages. Many struggle not only with ill health, but with substance use disorder and psychiatric illnesses, as well. They come from many countries and backgrounds. Increasing numbers of our patients are being housed, although we continue to care for them even when they’re no longer homeless.
We are doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, physician assistants, mental health professionals, dentists, medical assistants, substance abuse counselors, social workers, community health workers and other caregivers and administrative staff. Our staff size fluctuates a little, but our most recent numbers are:
Full time: 281
Part time: 59
Per diem: 117
We also depend on volunteers to help with non-clinical tasks.
What: Our services include:
- Medical and nursing care
- Pediatric care and family services
- Dental care and oral health services
- Medical respite care in our 24/7 Barbara McInnis House for patients who are too ill for the streets or shelters but not ill enough to qualify for hospitalization
- Mental health and substance abuse services
- HIV testing, education, counseling and treatment
- Case management
- Assistance with public benefits
Our annual budget is approximately $50 million: about 75% of that comes from third party reimbursements from MassHealth, Medicare and Health Safety Net. The remainder comes from grants and philanthropy.
Where: Our home base is Jean Yawkey Place, located at 780 Albany Street in the South End. The building houses the Barbara McInnis House, our dental practice, a large walk-in clinic, a pharmacy, a research program, administrative offices and more.
We also operate a clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital and at more than 60 shelters and other sites, including St. Francis House, the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, Pine Street Inn, and domestic violence shelters and motels that house homeless families. Our street team cares for unsheltered patients and those who are newly housed.
We have collaborative relationships with all of the downtown teaching hospitals and our physicians are on staff at many of them.
Why: To borrow the words of the Reverend William Sloane Coffin, the late clergyman and peace activist, we should be “concerned most with those that society counted least and put last.” BHCHP has been putting that philosophy to work since 1985.
But there’s a business argument to our work as well. Timely, comprehensive health care saves the system money by preventing avoidable emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
When: Most of our programs are open during regular business hours with the exception of certain services, such as our transgender clinic, that have evening hours. We also provide medical coverage on Pine Street Inn’s overnight street outreach van.
For BHCHP's logo and brand guidelines, please call 857-654-1044 or email [email protected].