Should I risk it?
This simple question has been on our minds constantly for the last eight months. Is it safe for me to go to the grocery store, let alone the pharmacy or my doctor’s office?
But people who need treatment for heart disease, diabetes or cancer must accept that risk. And we must be there for them.
It’s a cool fall morning and Willie is out on the front porch of our clinic, leaning quietly on his cane. When he hears “Hey, Mr. Willie,” he looks up and his face breaks into a smile so wide his mask can’t hide it.
It’s TJ Bagley, Willie’s Community Health Worker. TJ, pictured above, is a COVID-19 screener at the front door today. He likes being one of the first faces people see when they arrive at our clinic. “My job is all about trust. To help our clients, I need them to know that I’m here for them.”
Willie and TJ have been talking a lot lately. “I know you’re in my corner,” Willie says.
Willie has prostate cancer, and treatment has been especially difficult during the pandemic because of his difficulty walking. But TJ and Willie’s team of providers are always just a call away to arrange transportation, answer questions about his care and, if needed, advocate with his doctors at the hospital.
Every day, dozens of people walk into our clinic for the first time. Your donation means they’ll get the same quality care as Willie, including:
- Medical care and prescription medication for chronic conditions
- Counseling and treatment for addiction
- Assistance with housing applications and landlord mediation
- Community health workers for on-call support
- Support to become even stronger self-advocates
“When I first came into Health Care for the Homeless, I wanted help with my housing and health. I was all beat up and battered,” says Willie. “I’ve gotten so much good treatment ever since.”
That’s not to say things are perfect for Willie. Housing remains a big issue. The rats in the ceiling of his apartment make it hard for him to sleep…and he’s not sure what his landlord will do about it.
Finding decent affordable housing is painfully slow work. However, Willie has no choice but to make it work. He remains at risk in so many ways.
The risks are grave right now, but we are committed to helping Willie live his best life.
Join us in caring about the well-being of people who live in peril every day of their lives. Join us in the hard work to dismantle the systems and practices that put our friends and neighbors in such dangerous circumstances in the first place.
The health risks of homelessness have only gotten more severe in 2020. You can help by making a donation today!