Serving the Homeless
In Cleveland, it is estimated that on any given night there are 4,000 people experiencing homelessness: sleeping in shelters, on the streets and doubling-up with friends or family.
Individuals experiencing homelessness face many barriers to health care including: severe mental illness, chemical dependency, histories of trauma and distrust of the system. Additionally, common lifestyle factors associated with homelessness are detrimental to health: prolonged exposure to severe weather, walking great distances to obtain services and living in communal environments. It is no wonder then, that the average life expectancy for a homeless individual is between 42 and 52 years of age compared to 78 for the general population in the United States.
Care Alliance has been providing services to the homeless population since 1985, beginning as “Cleveland Health Care for the Homeless.” Our success in serving our patients since that time has been the result of our commitment to providing high-quality, respectful care in easily-accessible locations: Our staff are passionate about serving the indigent and our downtown clinic is located within walking distance from the largest homeless shelters in the city.
Additionally, outreach programming has played a key role in our success in serving this population. Through outreach, we are able to reach out to individuals experiencing homelessness, in partnership with local safety-net agencies, by providing care in locations where they are most comfortable: where they sleep or access services. Out outreach team works extensively to build trust with these individuals – sometimes for years – before linkage into care can be made. We work to build trust in a variety of ways including through the provision of basic necessities (donated by individuals like you) and engaging people into care creatively through health education and even book clubs.