Vermonters struggling with homelessness need access to quality health care to lift themselves into lives of safety and security. To help meet this community need, CHCB is a federally-funded Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) site, one of 208 programs in the United States and the only in Vermont. HCH programs are community-based and provide comprehensive primary care, mental health and substance abuse services, oral health care as well as supportive services (education, translation, transportation, etc.) that promote access to health care at no cost. While HCH services are available at all of our sites, two of our health centers offer walk-in care hours. CHCB clinicians and case workers are also out on the streets, in the encampments and social service agencies weekly to ensure connection to primary and preventive care services. A CHCB clinician provides primary and preventive health care at the family shelters every week. On-site services ensure homeless kids and families have a trusted primary care provider, access to mental health and substance abuse services, and up-to-date immunizations for school readiness.
Tucked between King Street and the VFW on South Winooski Avenue, the Community Health Center’s Safe Harbor Health Center has one of the biggest missions in Burlington: to provide no-cost health and human services to men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. At this center, our staff provides primary and preventive health care, supportive housing programs, mental health and substance abuse counseling, and case management services.
Across the street from Safe Harbor Health Center, in the lower level of 179 South Winooski Ave, our seasonal Low-Barrier Shelter provides a safe space and care management for single homeless adults during harsh Vermont winters. Opened in November, 2016, this model was designed to engage with guests and develop the trusting relationships and connections to long-term services needed to lift them permanently out of homelessness.
CHCB works closely with community partners to bring our expertise in intensive case management and health services to Beacon Apartments, a permanent housing program for Burlington’s most chronically homeless individuals, and the medical respite program for homeless and marginally housed individuals at Bel Aire Apartments. The seven medical respite units at Bel Aire offer recuperative care for homeless individuals with an acute medical problem. Bel Aire receives referrals from the hospital and community agencies, and also has the capacity to offer preparation for, and recovery from, preventative procedures (e.g. colonoscopy) for homeless individuals.
If you are a teen or young adult up to age 26, community residents may also seek care at our Pearl Street Youth Health Center. Located next door to Spectrum Youth and Family Services, a CHCB medical provider and Licensed Clinical Social Worker provide primary and preventive health care, case management and mental health and substance abuse counseling, connection to dental care and benefits such as health insurance.
You Are Not Alone
If you are staying in an emergency shelter, on the street, camping out, or even staying temporarily with a friend, you may be eligible for services through the Homeless Healthcare Program. Please walk in during our regular hours for care.