Fourth Street Clinic is going places.

Through a half million-dollar, two-year grant, Fourth Street Clinic– now entering its 30th year of providing high quality health care to homeless Utahns –  plans to expand its collaboration with nonprofit service providers in the state.

The grant is $545,182, funded through the Community Foundation of Utah and benefits five resource centers. It provides YWCA Utah, The Road Home, Volunteers of America Utah, First Step House and the Housing Authority of Salt Lake County with Nurse Care Managers – coordinating care between the resource centers and the clients they serve. The nurse care managers offer basic health care services and coordinate continued care with Fourth Street Clinic and other community health centers. This makes it much easier for an individual to receive necessary health care and avoid emergency services when possible. This “hub and spoke” model solidifies Fourth Street Clinic’s position as the primary care provider for homeless individuals in the state.

“Our focus for the program will be three health areas that are particularly critical amongst homeless populations: chronic disease management, triaged care, and medication management,” Laura Michalski, CEO of Fourth Street Clinic said. “We are excited to see this crucial project get underway and are grateful for the Housing and Homelessness Prevention Fund’s support to make it possible.”

With Fourth Street Clinic as the hub and the nurse care managers acting as the spokes, Michalski says this model improves collaboration efforts between nonprofit service providers, reduces duplication of services, and develops deeper relationships within the homeless community and the resource centers. Because of this, homeless individuals have much wider access to immediate care and personal health education. The nurse care managers will work under direction of Fourth Street Clinic and rotate between locations, depending on the needs of patients.

Community members express the necessity of the hub and spoke project

Alex Eaton, CEO of the Community Foundation of Utah, is excited to be a part of this much-needed expansion. “This effort exemplifies the collaborative approach to homelessness that Salt Lake County’s Collective Impact Steering Committee has been working toward,” Eaton said. “Our goal is to make a meaningful difference in the quality of life for the homeless community in our state by connecting individuals with the medical care they need.”

Fourth Street Clinic affirms this model will be successful in expanding care to clients unwilling or unable to travel to the clinic’s physical location, southwest of Pioneer Park. First Step House, an addiction recovery center, is one example where clients need this model of care. Sarah Bauman, Development Director at First Step House, says this project will build a strong foundation for recovery. “As we experience a rise in our patients who have struggled with homelessness, or are at risk for becoming homeless, our need to respond to their health conditions has also increased,” Bauman said. “Many of our patients have a history of untreated acute and chronic health conditions due to their inability to access critical, timely healthcare.”

As Fourth Street Clinic rolls out this project, they hope to take assessments of its usefulness and then implement this into the new homeless shelter sites, slated for operation in 2019.