First-In-Nation Fleet of New, Fully Equipped and Staffed Trucks Provide Health Care, Social Services and More at Encampments
Last week, Housing for Health, a division of the Department of Health Services, launched a fleet of medical field units that are now making daily stops at homeless encampments throughout Los Angeles County to address urgent health and social needs among people experiencing homelessness.
Considered a first-in-the-nation effort for its scale, staffing and comprehensive services, each of the four specially equipped trucks provides direct and consistent care through a team of doctors, mental health professionals, nurses, substance use counselors and social workers.
“While efforts continue to expand our shelters and provide more affordable housing, we must first take care of people where they live – under bridges, in alleyways and urban encampments. This is a necessary strategy to save lives and build trust among a highly vulnerable population,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District.
Each Housing for Health mobile medical unit is equipped with full-service exam rooms to provide primary care, such as vaccines and medications; urgent care procedures such as wound care, ultrasounds, and blood work; woman-focused care such as cervical cancer screening, diagnosis for sexually transmitted diseases, obstetrics, and prenatal care; and lifesaving COVID-19 testing and healthcare services. Other services include day-of lab results, behavioral health care, psychiatry and field-based medication assisted treatment.
A passenger van is also assigned to each mobile medical truck to assist in bringing unhoused people to specialty care centers, shelters, clinics, or other programs for more complex health care or social services.
Housing for Health’s medical field units are an outcome of the health-care needs identified during the county’s COVID-19 response, which revealed the urgent need to provide immediate health care to unhoused people where they live.
“Our COVID response efforts, which included more than 70 percent of our homeless population being vaccinated, clearly showed us just how successful we can be with direct outreach, focused and coordinated medical care and compassion. These mobile clinics will continue our ability to provide consistent, low-barrier, trauma-informed care that is comprehensive, responsive, and patient-centered,” said Sarah Mahin, director, Housing for Health, a division of the county’s Department of Health Services.
For more information, contact program manager Victor Hinderliter at VHinderliter@dhs.lacounty.gov