On Friday, March 22, Baptist Operation Outreach and Christ Community Health Services announced a new partnership with The Salvation Army Purdue Center of Hope. The center is a shelter for single women and children, and the Baptist Operation Outreach health care van for the homeless will treat patients’ health care needs at the location twice a month.
“On any given night we serve up to about 110 people with a maximum of 54 women and the rest children,” said Barbara Tillery, social services director at the Purdue Center of Hope. “More than 50 percent of the people in the shelter are children, so being able to receive health care is critical for them. Babies can get sick easily,” she said.
The Single Women’s Lodge and the Emergency Family Shelter at the center provides safe housing, nutritional meals and individual case management for up to 90 days. Case managers help clients turn their lives around. With a focus on finding permanent supportive housing and/or employment, resources are identified and referrals are made to help overcome or manage mental illness, substance abuse, job loss and displacement.
“We’re going to start off bringing the mobile unit every second and fourth Wednesday of the month with hopes that it will be increasing over time,” said Janice Taylor, clinical director of Baptist Operation Outreach. “We’ll work closely with the patients’ case managers and the facility here to create a schedule for the clinic. We’ll make follow up appointments, and we’ll provide primary health care for the women and well child checks for the children.”
Taylor notes the good thing about being on site is Baptist Operation Outreach will be able to help the patients if they have problems or need diagnostic testing. The health care van will also provide immunizations for the children and help them as needed.
The Purdue Center of Hope plans to contact other homeless shelters around the city to invite their clients to the Purdue Center when the Baptist Operation Outreach van is there.
“I’m going to be talking to some of the other shelters that have children because it is hard when you have babies,” said Tillery. “This may be a good way for some of the other homeless women and children in some of the other shelters to get help with their health care needs as well. It’ll take a bit of work on our part, but we are willing to do that.”
The Baptist Operation Outreach van visits the Memphis Union Mission (men only) and Catholic Charities’ Dozier House. This new partnership with the Purdue Center of Hope will enable the mobile health care unit to provide more care for women and children.