Mobile Hygiene to Engage Unsheltered PEH

The Covid pandemic put a spotlight on the lack of available public hygiene facilities in our communities for people experiencing homelessness. There are no public facilities for washing, toileting, or showers. During the pandemic, people steered away from communal shelters, some in fear of catching Covid and others annoyed by the restrictions created by Covid. As a result, many more people were literally left out in the cold, and outreach teams needed new incentives to engage those who isolating in private and unsanctioned encampments and in need of medical, behavioral health, and other lifesaving supports (food, warm clothes and clean water).

This presentation showcases an interdisciplinary team effort, centered around a highly visible hygiene trailer, branded by an organization recognized as a trusted provider of services for people experiencing homelessness. Starting with the outreach workers who get the word out about the availability and location of the showers, team members are available with real-time resources for Coordinated Entry, housing applications, rental assistance, health insurance applications, clinical triage, behavioral health care and warm handoffs to medical, dental, and ongoing behavioral health. Participants leave the experience with a fresh set of clothes, a snack, and meals to go.

In the first months of the program, most participants are new patients to the organization (outreach goal) and connected to multiple services from this effort (service goal). Housing placements were made (ending homelessness goal). We will present successful linkages, desired services, and funding from a national survey on behavioral health and behavioral health care services during the pandemic. Consumers will share the data and recommendations, stories, and lessons learned, partners, health care and housing partners, and funders to reimagine and rebuild Coordinated Entry System with more equitable and just processes, practices, policies and cultures.

Speakers: Rhonda Hauff: CEO, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services

Session Materials: 

Categories: Consumer Engagement, Mobile Health, Shelter Health, Street Medicine
Tags: 2023 National HCH Conference
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