HEALTHCARE FOR VETERANS AND THE HOMELESS COMES FULL CIRCLE
Years ago the team at Central Oregon Veterans Outreach (COVO) conceived of an effort to take a mobile health clinic out to homeless camps in the area. In 2013 they donated their mobile van to Mosaic, and the Mobile Community Clinic (MCC) program came to life.
“Back then the people at Mosaic were the only ones open to starting a mobile health clinic for the homeless, and we are grateful to see how much reach this program has today,” said Rabbine Harpell, an original founder of COVO and longtime volunteer with the organization. “We really commend Mosaic for caring for our community.”
Today the MCC travels throughout Deschutes County, providing quality, accessible healthcare to more than 700 individuals experiencing homelessness and at-risk youth. The MCC offers care on a walk-in basis at locations where people are already accessing services, such as cold weather shelters and food banks. The mobile clinic weekly schedule includes stops at Shepherd’s House, The Loft, The Drop, United Methodist Church, J Bar J Youth Services and Church of God. And, beginning in the next few months, Mission Church and COVO will host the MCC.
“We have become a place where people know they will be treated fairly, and where they will be safe and welcomed,” said Kathy Skidmore, Executive Officer of COVO. “People have come to trust us, and so it is logical to offer the mobile clinic services here on site and partner with Mosaic once again.”
Mosaic’s Mobile Community Clinic travels to where patients are already receiving services. “It is always wonderful to be able to offer more services,” said J.W. Terry, Executive Director of COVO. “The more people we can help like this the better off the whole community is.”
Those experiencing homelessness have an increased risk for bronchitis, pneumonia, sunburn, skin infections, frostbite and other issues. And due to a lack of transportation, many people are not able to make it to one of the other 14 regional Mosaic clinics for care, so access to healthcare on the mobile clinic is critical.
The current MCC, a 27-year-old converted RV, has now reached the end of its service life. It can no longer be relied upon to safely travel the many miles required around the region to reach patients, and inclement winter weather often forces the cancellation of visits during the time of year when access to care is needed the most. Mosaic has raised 75% of the funds needed to purchase a new, reliable mobile clinic, and is now asking the community to help raise the remaining $60,000.
“We are grateful to COVO for their leadership and innovation in founding the mobile clinic program,” said Angela Saraceno, Development Coordinator at Mosaic. “As the number of individuals experiencing homelessness continues to grow, we need support from the community now more than ever to expand the level of care we can provide year-round.”
Join Mosaic in this effort to ensure access to healthcare for everyone in our community. To make a donation in support of a new mobile community clinic click here.
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Are you interested in learning more about our partners at Central Oregon Veterans Outreach? Visit their website at www.covo-us.org