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Children’s Health Fund Launches New Mobile Clinic to Serve Homeless Children and Families in New York City

The mobile clinic will enable the Children’s Health Fund to provide healthcare to hundreds more children and families each year

New York, NY – Today, the Children’s Health Fund (CHF) announced a new mobile clinic which will travel weekly to shelter sites across the city and provide homeless families access to comprehensive, continuous medical and integrated behavioral healthcare, in addition to mental health screenings. The mobile clinics are technology-enriched to provide immediate access to electronic health records and the most advanced care possible.

The mobile clinic, made possible as part of a $700,000 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, will enable the CHF New York program, the New York Children’s Health Project (NYCHP) at Montefiore, to provide care to nearly 3,000 homeless children and families in NYC annually.

In New York City, NYCHP provides comprehensive, compassionate, family-centered healthcare to the city’s most medically underserved children and families. It reaches thousands of homeless children, youth, and adults through innovative programs that include a fleet of mobile clinics, several shelter-based clinics, and the Deerfield Child and Family Health Clinic in the Bronx. NYCHP is one of the nation’s largest mobile health programs serving children and families who are homeless.

Along with supporting a new mobile clinic, the Helmsley Charitable Trust grant also provided for a minivan to transport families living in shelters to the Deerfield Clinic and to transport essential services and staff between clinics as needed.

“Families experiencing homelessness face unparalleled barriers to quality healthcare. For many of these families, healthcare is put on hold amidst the pressures of securing housing and employment,” said Tracy Perrizo, Program Officer of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s New York City Program. “We know that better health is key to leading better lives, which is why we are committed to improving the quality and accessibility of care here in New York City.”

CHF supports 26 national programs serving over 100,000 children and family members annually focusing on high-quality primary care, dental services, and mental health. Families are seen through fixed-sites and 50 mobile clinics (“doctor’s offices on wheels”), and school-based partnerships at over 400 schools, Head Start centers, shelters, and community sites. The agency delivers healthcare where children live, learn, and play in 16 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

In addition to ensuring access to healthcare, CHF works to reduce health barriers to learning in disadvantaged communities, brings the voice of children and youth to local and national policy debates, and responds to the needs of children impacted by public health crises.

“This mobile clinic, our ninth to serve children and families in NYC, underscores the continued and growing need in our communities to access healthcare,” said CHF CEO Dennis Walto. “Our first mobile clinic responded to the dire needs of families in shelters in 1987, and we are still committed to those extremely vulnerable populations at a time when the homeless problem has only exacerbated. We are so thankful to The Helmsley Charitable Trust for investing in the communities in need of our NYCHP services that bring critical health services and the hope of a better future.”

Helmsley’s New York City Program works to improve the lives of New Yorkers with multiple, chronic health needs. Since the Program’s first grant was approved in 2014, Helmsley has awarded more than $42 million in grants to organizations across the city.