Photo Caption: On the Road to Better Health: Family Service Association of Bucks County prepares to roll out a Street Healthcare Mobile Unit to provide on-site medical, mental health, and substance use evaluation and treatment to individuals experiencing homelessness in Bucks County.
Family Service Association of Bucks County is preparing to launch a Street Healthcare Mobile Unit in partnership with several agencies in Bucks County, including Bucks County Opportunity Council, Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission, and Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership. This innovative mobile program will enable a licensed practitioner to provide low barrier access to treatment, with on-site medical, mental health, and substance use evaluation and treatment to individuals experiencing homelessness in the Bucks County community. This prevention-based approach aims to reduce the number of emergency room visits and promote mental health and wellness and proactive treatment in the community.
“The communities we will serve with our Street Healthcare Mobile Unit are disproportionately affected by healthcare disparities,” said Julie Dees, CEO of Family Service Association of Bucks County. “By delivering our services directly to underserved communities, we are removing some of the barriers to quality care. Our goal is to increase accessibility to healthcare, promote preventative health and improve health outcomes overall.”
In a Point in Time report from January 2021, the Bucks County Department of Housing and Community Development identified 288 individuals in emergency shelters, transitional housing, hotels/motels or outdoors in Bucks County. Of these, 23 individuals were sleeping outdoors or other places not meant for human habitation; 37 were sleeping in Code Blue temporary shelter for the night, and 228 were sleeping in emergency shelters, transitional housing units or hotels/motels paid for by charitable organizations.
Mental illness and substance use disorders impact individuals experiencing homelessness at higher rates than compared to the general population. According to a 2017 assessment by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, approximately 20 percent of people experiencing homelessness had a serious mental illness, and 16 percent reported conditions related to chronic substance use.
“We know that many of the individuals experiencing homelessness are also facing chronic health issues, mental illness, and substance use disorders. We are looking forward to being able to offer this new care delivery model. Our mobile unit will allow us to expand our coverage by providing quality health care directly to those who need it, where they are,” said Dees.
To launch this program, Family Service is seeking the necessary funds in order to purchase a van to be used as our Street Healthcare Mobile Unit. Please consider supporting Family Service as we work to improve the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness in Bucks County. Donations can be made at https://www.classy.org/campaign/family-service-street-healthcare-mobile-unit/c336634.
Family Service’s mission is to listen, care and help. Every day. Last year, the nonprofit organization helped nearly 30,000 members of the Bucks County community by providing a wide range of services including emergency housing, suicide prevention, parent education, counseling, and recovery support. To learn more about Family Service, visit www.fsabc.org.