Family Service Association of Bucks County has been developing and implementing vital human and social service programs for 50 years. One of the key factors in the agency’s success, has been its ability to recognize and proactively address the needs of the community; and bring together its highly-skilled staff and partners, to collectively support innovative programming.
Almost one year ago, the Family Service Street Medicine program was launched to support the population of nearly 100 residents who, for various reasons, are not able to enter the organization’s Bucks County Emergency Homeless Shelter. Instead, they live outdoors in the elements year-round.
They are known as the ‘street homeless,’ and their mortality rate is significantly higher than those who have shelter. Made possible by a grant through the County, as well as a fully-equipped van from St. Mary Medical Center, the program is driven by a Family Service registered nurse and case manager, who spend the day visiting encampments, those living in their vehicles, or in the streets and alleys of Bucks County.
Often, they have medical conditions coupled with mental illness or substance use challenges. It is the role of the nurse and case manager to treat immediate health-related dangers, while offering educational materials and essential items.
If necessary, or requested by the individual, referrals are made for mental health counseling or substance use treatment, either through Family Service or partnering agencies. In 2022, Street Medicine hosted its first health clinic.
More than 30 attendees were provided with food, hygiene products, medical treatment, wound care and wellness education. During the clinic, several participants also requested the opportunity for drug, alcohol and/or mental health counseling. The event was supported by Savage Sisters Recovery, Inc. and Never Surrender Hope.
Photo caption: Family Service Takes Homelessness and Addiction Treatment Battle to the Street. Back row, pictured from left, are Gary Lord, Amy Gestoso, Elizabeth Morrison, Julie Dees, Mary Campbell, Lauren Coyle, and Candice Kroemelbein. Front row from left, Sarah Laurel. James Sherman, Delaney Dunn, and Jasmyne Huth.