Partnership Health Center has launched the Community Care Team to offer mobile medical help to those in Missoula experiencing homelessness.

KGVO News spoke to Executive Director Laurie Francis who provided information about the purpose of the Community Care Team.

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“We're working to make sure that people who are not able to be in permanent stable housing have access to medical care, social care and the opportunity to move toward housing while they are living in various areas around the community,” said Francis. “Let's do better coordination. Let's add some resources. Let's add nursing care, medical care, and tenancy support and see what we can do to help people improve their health and well being and ultimately get them housed.”

Francis laid out a hard truth for Missoula residents about people experiencing homelessness.

“People who are living on the street don't want to be there,” she said. “They’re humans just like the rest of us. They deserve compassion and respect. They feel very exposed. Any of us would feel the same way if we were living out of doors, and it’s especially unsafe for women out of doors. Then, of course, there are the very real issues of discrimination, poverty, and lack of educational attainment that allow people to have jobs that would allow them to be able to afford housing.”

Francis said people who have been homeless have genuine trust issues with the community, and the Community Care Team strives to gain that trust by providing medical care with no strings attached.

“Trust is such a big issue,” she said. “People who are living in difficult circumstances have not necessarily been well supported by a lot of our societal structures, so they doubt the attempt at outreach. That’s why we have consistent personnel. We work really carefully with other agencies, and we're very respectful of people's priorities and rights. We don't impose our desires or priorities, but we ask them what they need and want and see how well we can partner with them.”

Francis provided details on the various locations where those who are homeless can receive medical care when needed.

“We have a clinic site at the Poverello Center,” she said. We have a clinic site at Partnership Health Center Creamery, which is on Railroad Street. We also have a site near the Lowell School. At any point folks can walk into the Poverello Center and talk to us about their health care needs or at the Creamery. Beyond that if they're on the street, at a permanent support outdoor housing area, we can work with them there and refer them inward as needed.”

The Community Care Team works closely with the Poverello Center, St. Patrick Hospital, Western Montana Mental Health Center and Hope Rescue Mission. Missoula County and the City of Missoula provided American Rescue Plan Act funding to start and sustain the CCT.

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