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Community Wellness Organization Launches Program To Provide Medical Aid To The Unhoused

Brian Bull

A new outreach initiative by HIV Alliance will provide medical care and housing support to homeless people across Lane County. 

The county used coronavirus relief money to fund the venture for a year, though continued funding is anticipated. Set for full startup in July, HIV Alliance will have a team of four outreach workers, an EMT, and nurse practitioner providing aid to homeless camps and similar sites.

Program Director Amanda McCluskey:

“So if a person has like a chronic condition and they need help managing that -maybe they need a prescription - our nurse practitioner can do an exam, write a prescription, and then our outreach workers can help the person get to the pharmacy, get connected to a primary care physician, get follow-up appointments, and really help reduce folks having to rely on emergency services and the emergency department for their medical care.” 

While the team will serve homeless people on a countywide level, the primary focus will be on the Eugene-Springfield area. McCluskey said this extends HIV Alliance’s current work with the unhoused.  Her group is also now providing members of Lane County’s unhoused community with COVID-19 testing.

"We’ll come to them starting July 1st, and now if folks want to get tested for COVID, they can come to any of our syringe exchange sites or into our office," said McCluskey.  "So we’ll be offering STI testing, HIV testing, hepatitis-C testing, and counseling as well as far as how to stay safe and not transmit those diseases.”

McCluskey said the pandemic has certainly driven up the need for increased health services, screening, and housing assistance in the past year.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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