Fundamental to the HCH model of care, outreach is an umbrella term for serving people outside of the four walls of the clinic, which may include providing medical services on the streets (“street medicine”), using a mobile medical van, or deploying outreach specialists to build relationships with those who cannot or will not access services in the physical clinic. Medical outreach, in particular, continues to grow across the country with health centers increasing these services and other independent organizations emerging regularly. Learn more below about strategies for reaching people outside the clinic.
National Outreach Guidelines
The National Outreach Guidelines for Underserved Populations (2012) were developed through a collaboration of five national partner organizations: the Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), the National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC), the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Migrant Health Promotion (MHP) and the Health Outreach Partners (HOP). The organizations worked with an advisory panel made up of representatives from community health centers and other support organizations across the country to update and expand the Farmworker Outreach Program Guidelines developed by HOP in 2000. Access the executive summary and the complete guidelines on the HOP website.
- Homeless Outreach: A Pre-Treatment Guide (2019) | Archived Webinar | This session featured case studies and strategies to build bridges to services for highly vulnerable unsheltered individuals without homes who present with complex issues.
- Overcoming Challenges in Street Medicine: Advanced Topics in Medical Outreach (2019) | Preconference Institute at the 2019 National Health Care for the Homeless Conference
- Administrative Concerns in Street Medicine: Assuring Quality without Sacrificing Mission (2018) | Archived webinar by Brett Feldman and Laura LaCroix
- Outreach and Enrollment Quick Guide: Promising Strategies for Engaging the Homeless Population (2014) | Features the experiences of frontline staff—including outreach, case management, and benefits workers—to illustrate the importance of outreach and enrollment and highlight promising strategies being employed to overcome individual and systemic challenges.
- The Client Engagement Tip Sheet (2014) is drawn from the above Quick Guide and provides practical strategies for outreach and enrollment activities.
- Within Reach: Perspectives of Hard-to-Reach Consumers Experiencing Homelessness: Findings from a Consumer Participation Outreach Survey (2012) | This report summarizes results from the CPO Survey, which addresses the topic of outreach to hard-to-reach individuals who are homeless, particularly as it affects their enrollment in benefits programs.
- Mobile Medical Outreach: A Commitment to Service (2009) | This homeless health care case report, developed by the HCH Clinicians’ Network, elucidates components of mobile medical outreach treatment, highlighting best practices and evidence-based primary care.
- Mobile Health Care for Homeless People: Using Vehicles to Extend Care (2007) | This report describes the experiences of 33 HCH projects that use outreach vehicles, ranging from passenger vans to custom-designed clinics on wheels, to provide a variety of health services to people without stable housing.
- Outreach to People Experiencing Homelessness: A Curriculum for Training Health Care for the Homeless Outreach Workers (2005) | While outdated, this comprehensive curriculum includes fundamental knowledge for outreach workers, in addition to anyone serving people experiencing homelessness.
- Hard to Reach: Rural Homelessness & Health Care (2001) | Healing Hands
- Operation Safety Net: Outreach to Unsheltered Homeless People (1998) | Healing Hands
- Registered Nurse Standardized Procedures for Street-Based Outreach and Engagement (2021) | Courtesy of Shannon Smith-Bernardin, Smith-Bernardin Consulting, Inc. This resource is provided free of charge with permissions from the author to edit according readers’ context. Contact Dr. Smith-Bernardin for an editable copy.
- Street Medicine Policy Manual (2019) | Courtesy of Brett Feldman, Director of Street Medicine, USC Keck School of Medicine
- Street Medicine Policy & Procedures Manual (2018) | Lehigh Valley Health Network Street Medicine
- Street Medicine Institute | A key international partner advancing the specialty of street medicine
- Core Elements of Effective Street Outreach to People Experiencing Homelessness (2019) | USICH | Communities can use this list to assess their street outreach efforts at both the program- and system-level, and to identify opportunities to build upon and strengthen their systemic approach to ending homelessness, particularly unsheltered homelessness.
- Organizing Health Services for Homeless People: A Practical Guide (2001) – See Part 4: Service Delivery Strategies; F: Outreach
This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,967,147 with 20 percent financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.
Copyright © 2021 National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc.
604 Gallatin Ave., Suite 106 | Nashville, TN 37206 | (615) 226-2292
Privacy and Payment Policies