National Health Care Homeless Week

03/22/06

This week is National Homeless Health week, which happens at this time of the year and is coordinated by the National Health Care for the Homeless Coalition.

Lack of regular health care has been a major problem in the US for years, and the latest statistics say there are now 45 million Americans who don’t have health insurance.

Obviously, those that are homeless falls into that category.

Lesa Weikel is Community Relations Manager for the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County, which is hosting a health fair for the homeless this Friday (roll tape#1 o.q.�in our county�)

The Homeless Coalition will host its 2nd annual Homeless Health Fair from 11:15 to 12:45 Friday morning at the Faith Café, which is located at 3702 West Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa.

During the health fair, homeless people will have access to a health screening including blood pressure and blood glucose level checks, shelter referrals and health education. Additionally, every person attending the health fair will receive a hot meal and beverage, and a backpack with supplies.

Nine different social service providers are scheduled to be on hand to provide help and information. Local officials say that 43 people homeless people died while living on the streets of Hillsborough County, many from preventable and treatable health conditions.

Lese Weikel from the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County says the location of the fair is one way to insure that homeless people can take advantage of the services provided(roll tape#2 o.q.�200 people that day�)

Homeless advocates say that the lack of affordable housing is the biggest barrier to health care of all.

A study that came out last month from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council said there IS a ‘robust ‘ program that provides primary care, mental health and substance use, and dental care needs to a majority of homeless people in their communities…but nationally, homeless people are denied services every day due to lack of capacity, and waiting for services is quite common.

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