Expanding Services to Address Homelessness

SCF Nurse Practitioner Patricia McLoughlin tends to Vernita Ballot in the Caring Clinic at the Brother Francis Shelter.

Southcentral Foundation is proud to be part of a collaborative effort to end homelessness in Anchorage. Thanks to an innovative partnership between Catholic Social Services, Alaska Regional, Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and SCF, increased health care and respite services are now available at Brother Francis Shelter.

Recognizing that having access to basic medical care is a key component in reducing the number of people experiencing homelessness, SCF worked with Catholic Social Services to expand services at the Caring Clinic located at the shelter.

The Caring Clinic has been run by volunteers like nurses, physician assistants, and medical professionals selflessly providing basic health care needs for guests. Through a memorandum of agreement, SCF donated basic medical supplies, expanded the clinic hours, and established support of a full-time health care provider.

Today, the Caring Clinic has been remodeled with four exam areas staffed with an SCF physician assistant working at the clinic full time. The expanded Caring Clinic will allow guests at the shelter to receive basic medical care and referrals to health care at clinics and hospitals. Offering daily health care services at the shelter will improve health care and emergency service systems across Anchorage. This partnership between Catholic Social Services and SCF will improve the lives of many people.

In addition to the improvements incorporated at the Caring Clinic, BFS also made expansions to its respite program. BFS offers beds for medically fragile individuals to recuperate from an acute illness or injury. Providence Home Health Care provides skilled home care services to BFS patient-guests. The list of services offered include skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, home health aide, and chaplain services.

“All work on the capital projects is donated,” said Lisa Aquino, CSS Executive Director. “The design, construction, and high-grade renovations for both the Respite Program and the Caring Clinic were provided at no cost to Brother Francis Shelter. The volume of work that went into the clinic space and the respite program workspace is beyond anything we expected, and we are grateful for the tremendous amount of time and resources that went into this project.”

In Anchorage, more than 1,000 people have been identified as lacking housing, and finding permanent housing for the city’s homeless is an ongoing process. BFS was established by Catholic Social Services in 1982 to provide temporary, emergency shelter for men and women. The shelter on 3rd Avenue in downtown Anchorage offers many services including an evening meal, use of shower and laundry facilities, case management services, advocacy and referrals for employment, housing, and treatment options for alcohol, substance abuse, and mental health conditions.

by Sharon Leighow

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