Mobile health clinic provides healthcare to chronically homeless

mobile clinic web pic.jpg
Mobile Health Clinic treats chronically homeless. (WPEC)

Mural Brown has spent a lot of time sitting outside on the streets of West Palm Beach.

He was homeless until recently.

On Monday, he sat outside for a different reason, waiting for his turn at the Mobile Health Clinic, which treats the chronically homeless in Palm Beach County.

"They help me with doctors, doctor visits , medications," said Brown.

It’s important for him to stay on top of his health now, because just eight months ago, he said while homeless, he was having a stroke and with no home, no phone and no one to look after him, he was lucky someone found him in time.

"I was laying in the streets half paralyzed and I was unable to walk, a city worker came by and they called 911," Brown said. "I thank God."

A lack of healthcare is a huge problem both physically and mentally in the homeless community.

Doctor Belma Andric, Chief Medical Officer of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County, said the behavioral services they provide at the Mobile Health Clinic is a big part of finding a permanent solution to homelessness.

"To provide someone who has chronic mental health issues housing without really addressing their mental issues or addiction issues, I don’t think they’re going to stay in housing," Andric said.

Although a lack of housing in Palm Beach County is also a chronic problem, it’s not one that is going to be solved anytime soon.

West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James toured the clinic and spoke with the people who desperately need it.

James said it's an invaluable resource to the homeless community.

"It helps us to have a more comprehensive approach to the homelessness problem," he said. "If I had an endless budget, the first thing I would do is see if we could provide enough roofs over their heads as we continue to try match the homeless with the social services needs that they have."

Although housing budgets are tight, providing healthcare to the homeless is one resource that is both in need and currently available.

As people continued to line up and get treatment for a variety of medical ailments, Brown sat grateful for the healthcare being offered to him and homeless.

His stroke, was life changing in more ways than one, it led to getting him off the streets, as he was was then able to get placed in permanent housing once he got out of the hospital.

But ultimately, Brown said his stroke made him start thinking about his health, something many homeless people overlook, when they're mainly thinking thinking about where they are going to lay their head for the night.