Street Outreach Services
"Rough sleepers", homeless people who cannot tolerate homeless shelters or mainstream clinics and hospitals, face unusually severe health risks. They suffer from exposure to the extremes of heat and cold; complex and chronic medical illnesses; and frequent exposure to violence. Many suffer from persistent mental illness and substance abuse.
The members of BHCHP's Street Team walk the streets of the city, seeking out the men and women who live in alleys and under bridges to offer care to these "rough sleepers". Since 2002, a psychiatrist and a clinical social worker from Massachusetts Mental Health Center have become full members of the BHCHP Street Team. Their efforts have made it possible to develop a seamless integration of medical and behavioral health care directly on the streets.
The Street Team blankets them with intensive care by:
- Operating a special "Street Clinic" at Massachusetts General Hospital to provide health services to patients who have forged bonds with Street Team providers
- Offering health care on the Pine Street Inn Overnight Rescue Van. A BHCHP physician has worked on this van two nights a week since 1986
- Providing a medical presence for the daytime street outreach teams run by local homeless shelters.
- Offering home visits for those long term homeless patients, including rough sleepers, who are now being housed through the Housing First Initiatives in Boston.
Click here to read more about BHCHP/Housing First