City Mission is a Christ-centered rehabilitative homeless shelter. We facilitate the transformation of those who have descended into homelessness, hunger and despair by providing food, shelter, case management, Christian based counseling, and life-changing programming. Our goal is to help each person who walks through our doors to become a healthy, productive member of society.
The City Mission offers two branches of service - Compassionate Care and our Life Recovery Program. Compassionate Care reaches out to those most in need by offering basic services such as meals, shelter, and medical care. The Life Recovery Program assists men, women, and children who are in crisis and looking for life transformation. Our philosophy is to meet people where they are and to lead them towards their God-given purpose.Learn More
City Mission’s work is only possible by the community and businesses of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s generous donation of time and treasure. If you, your business, or church would like to be part of bringing hope to those hurting in our region, or partner with us to deliver the same - please take action today.Learn More
City Mission’s HEIRS model is a proprietary method for tracking the effectiveness of our programs and services in helping residents move from homelessness to independence. For every resident, we evaluate their progress throughout their stay at the Mission in these five categories: housing, employment, income, recovery, and spirituality. We believe that success in these five areas can lead to life transformation. “Our program is designed to get results,” explained City Mission President/CEO Dean Gartland, who pioneered this model 19 years ago. By focusing on these outcomes, we can identify strengths and weaknesses within our program and formulate strategies for improvement–with the goal of helping as many people as possible find success on their journey to independence. In 2004, Gartland began a research project to identify how agencies who work with the homeless measure success. His goals were to create a data-driven model for evaluating the success of homelessness programs and also to collect key data points to demonstrate programmatic success to donors and grant-funding agencies.Gartland devised a questionnaire that he sent out to numerous organizations, asking them a series of questions regarding how they measure the success of their programs. The responses to his questionnaire identified five key metrics common across nearly all of these agencies: housing, employment, income, recovery, and spirituality. And the HEIRS model was born.Gartland adopted James 2:5 as the Biblical foundation of the HEIRS program. It reads, “Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him?”When he came to City Mission in 2008 as Vice President and Director of Programs, Gartland introduced his HEIRS model to City Mission and began building a program around it. The effectiveness of the program was immediately apparent, and Gartland was appointed President/CEO of City Mission two years later. Today, our current Director of Residential Programs, Leah Dietrich, still uses HEIRS as the primary method for evaluating the success of our programs. “HEIRS is the proof in the pudding that our program is working,” she explained. “And it also shows us areas where we need to improve. Over time, we began to see that our residents need different things, their barries are changing. Recently, we have seen a skewing of age toward a younger demographic who are finding themselves homeless. And the HEIRS model helps us to see how we can adjust to best meet those needs.”One of the amazing things about the HEIRS model is that it is not just valuable organizationally, but it is also incredibly helpful to our residents as a tool for monitoring their individual progress through our program. Gartland continues to emphasize the importance of making sure that residents know about the goals and outcomes when they come into the program, so our staff can work alongside them to help them achieve success, because our success as an organization is just a function of our residents’ individual successes as they move from homelessness to independence. Dietrich agrees. “It’s exciting for our residentsto track their progress, and it’s exciting for us to see our residents move through that struggle and find their a-ha moments along the way. Our residents will complete a self-assessment and then compare it to our Housing Coordinator’s assessment of their progress, and it can start a valuable conversation and help us work together to establish goals and create personalized treatment plans with each resident.”Between 2017-2020, using the HEIRS model, City Mission achieved an overall success rate of 64% including a 78% success rate in finding sustainable housing.Those successes are a testament to the diligent work of our residents and staff working together to establish and achieve personal goals to overcome barriers, and our proprietary HEIRS model facilitates the collaboration that generates that continued success.You can partner with us in our mission to bring hope to the homeless. Please consider donating today at http://www.citymission.org/donate. Thank you for your compassion for those in need.
At City Mission, we know firsthand the damaging effects of homelessness on Pennsylvania's individuals, families, and communities. And while there are many causes of homelessness, losing a job, medical bills, domestic violence, addiction, and mental illness are significant factors or triggers that may lead to homelessness. While identifying the causes of homelessness is important, homelessness is a symptom of deeper social and economic problems that require comprehensive solutions. This article will delve into these complex factors and explore our efforts to address them while providing essential services and resources to those in need. As a Christ-Centered organization, we believe that every person is made in the image of God and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. We are dedicated to being a compassionate force for good, positively impacting our community by providing love and support to struggling individuals. Job Loss: A Common Precursor to Homelessness Job loss is a key driver of homelessness. Economic uncertainties have resulted in many individuals losing their jobs, often due to layoffs or circumstances beyond their control. This sudden decline in income and the rising cost of living can snowball into financial instability, further complicating the ability to meet basic needs such as paying rent, purchasing food, or seeking healthcare. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, "Unemployment and underemployment are significant drivers of homelessness, particularly for those who lack a strong social network or other support systems. Job loss or wage reductions can quickly lead to the inability to pay for housing, and subsequently, homelessness." We believe in the value of work and the dignity that comes from being able to support oneself and one's family. We strive to support individuals by providing job training and employment assistance programs that help them regain their financial footing and become self-sufficient. Medical Bills: A Barrier to Stability Another root cause of homelessness is medical bills. Unfortunately, healthcare costs in the United States can be exorbitant, and many people find themselves facing overwhelming medical debt. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has projected national health expenditures to grow at an annual rate of 5.4 percent from 2019 to 2028, outpacing inflation and economic growth. When individuals cannot pay their medical bills or lose income due to medical-related issues, they may find themselves at risk of eviction or foreclosure. At City Mission, we work to connect individuals who are experiencing homelessness with healthcare resources. Our medical clinic provides acute medical care and bridges primary care services for residents and the community. Domestic Violence: A Leading Cause of Homelessness for Women Did you know that domestic violence is a significant contributor to homelessness for women and children? Those escaping abuse often have no other options and can find themselves without a secure living situation. "Up to 50% of all homeless women and children in the United States are fleeing from domestic violence. Among women who are homeless, over 90% have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives." (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, "Domestic Violence and Homelessness") Our organization offers a secure and empathetic space for those affected by domestic violence. We have an 11-suite residence where families can find shelter together. Our facility offers childcare so that mothers have the same opportunities to participate in our long-term programming, just like our other residents. Mental Illness and Homelessness Mental illness is a major factor in homelessness, with an estimated 20-25% of the homeless population in the U.S. living with a severe mental illness. The stigma surrounding mental health issues can make it difficult for individuals to access the care and support they need, leading to untreated mental health conditions and potentially dangerous situations. Additionally, studies indicate that homelessness can worsen pre-existing mental health concerns, making overcoming these hurdles and securing a steady home more challenging. We recognize mental illness's significant impact on homelessness and have developed programs and services to support those struggling with these challenges. Our recovery programming includes access to mental health counseling, case management, and peer support groups. These resources are designed to help individuals experiencing homelessness with mental illness to stabilize and achieve long-term recovery. Addiction: Addressing the Underlying Issues Homelessness and substance abuse often go hand in hand, with up to two-thirds of homeless individuals struggling with drugs or alcohol. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that substance abuse exacerbates challenges in finding and keeping stable housing, managing finances, and accessing essential resources like healthcare. Addressing this issue is critical to improving the lives of the homeless population. We are proud to offer addiction treatment programs and support services to help those in need overcome addiction and regain control of their lives. Our unique approach combines 12-step recovery with biblical teachings to overcome addictive behaviors. Homelessness is a Complex Issue Homelessness is a multifaceted problem. Our responsibility is to assist those who require help with empathy and kindness. By providing job training, healthcare access, supporting survivors of domestic violence, and addiction treatment through a Christ-centered program, we tackle the various causes of homelessness and offer the necessary support and care for those impacted by it. If you are passionate about ending homelessness and want to make a difference in the lives of those in need, we encourage you to consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution can help us provide life-changing programs and resources to those experiencing homelessness.
Four years ago, Joe almost died. He was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. His pancreas was on the verge of exploding. The emergency room doctor told him if he had waited another day, he would be dead. “That was an eye opener for me to say the least,” Joe said. A week earlier, he got into a heated argument with the woman he was living with, so he left his home with nothing but the clothes on his back and all the cash he could carry. For the next week, he holed up in a hotel and nearly drank himself to death. “I probably would have, if I had more money,” he admitted. But he wasn’t exactly drinking liquor or beer. He was drinking mouthwash. The woman he was living with before he moved out had introduced him to drinking mouthwash, because it was so inexpensive and easy to access. “That was the beginning of my rock bottom,” Joe explained. After a weeklong bender at the hotel, he started feeling sick. The manager of the hotel took one look at him and called 9-1-1. “At the hospital, they took every fluid out of my body and tested it,” Joe recalled. Eventually, he was diagnosed with acute alcoholic pancreatitis and stayed in the hospital for seven days. After that, he checked into rehab…on his birthday. Ironically, it was on his eighteenth birthday, forty years earlier, when he took his first drink. He never had much adult supervision growing up. His parents were in their forties when he was born, so for the first three years of his life, he was raised by his older sister, who was only sixteen. His siblings were both grown and out of the house by the time he was in kindergarten, so he was raised for most of his life as an only child. “I was on my own for most of my life when I was growing up,” he explained. “It made me become very resourceful for myself. My parents didn’t want to be bothered, so I found my own way. And I found ways to entertain myself.” He worked hard at school and was a good kid, but when he turned eighteen, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. He couldn’t afford college. So when his best friend showed up on the night of his birthday with a bottle of whiskey, he went along for the ride. They spent the night in a cave in the woods and got completely drunk. “That was my first step down the road to alcoholism,” he said. After graduation, Joe joined the Air Force and served a full term of active duty working in electronic communications, maintaining cryptographic equipment that scrambled and descrambled highly-confidential print messages and voice communications. To do this work, he had to gain top secret security clearances. “I could have walked into the White House and shook hands with the President if I wanted to,” Joe said. After the military, Joe floated through a host of other jobs including security at a college campus, being a mechanic at a quick oil change shop, a fabricator at a steel manufacturing plant, and a salesman for an insurance company. He also got married at one point. Tragically, his wife passed away from ovarian cancer only a few years into their marriage. All the while, Joe was using alcohol to escape the everyday problems and stressors of life. “I was basically killing myself for forty years,” he said of his alcoholism. “I felt like the alcohol helped me function, but in reality, it was hurting my functionality. I felt like I could do things better, but really it made things worse. It was hiding emotional pain – from my upbringing, from life in general, but it’s the aftermath of drinking where you pay for a few hours of feeling good. The problems you are trying to hide from are still there. The best way to deal with problems is to hit them head on.” After rehab, Joe finally decided to hit his problems head on. With nowhere else to go, he came to City Mission and lived for nearly four years at our Crabtree Kovacicek Veterans House. During that time, he transformed his life. He got himself sober and connected to veterans’ services. “City Mission gave me an opportunity to take a step back from the world, to concentrate on myself and get my life back together,” he said. “Get the mental health treatments I needed. Go to meetings. An opportunity to refect on myself and stop beating myself up like I was 40 years.” At our Veterans House, Joe was surrounded by men he could talk to who understood his struggles and could relate to his problems in ways he had never really experienced before. “I can discuss veteran problems with the guys here that other people just don’t understand,” he said. “And I feel a lot better about being a veteran now than I did before I got here.” In additional to case management, recovery services, and emotional and psychological support, City Mission helped him with the fundamentals of independent living, like getting his Driver’s License back. “That was a big step for me to independence,” he said. “I didn’t like having to count on other people to take me everywhere. Tomorrow, I’m even going to look for a car of my own.” The Mission also helped him get a job that he loves at a local manufacturing plant. “It’s the kind of work I was born to do,” he explained. “They like me, and I like them, and I like the work I’m doing.” Now, Joe is working on moving out on his own, but he will never forget what the Mission has done for him to turn his life around. “I am eternally grateful to the Mission for giving me the time and resources to get myself back together again,” he said. I’m not stuck in my past anymore. Now, I just focus on what I have to do next.” Joe is not alone. Nearly seven percent of Pennsylvania’s veterans live in poverty, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates there are nearly 1,000 homeless veterans in Pennsylvania alone – though the number is likely much higher, since veteran homelessness is complex and difficult to track. City Mission is proud to provide food, shelter, resources, and hope to those who served our country. They served us. Let’s serve them. If you are or know a veteran who is homeless or in need, please call City Mission at 724-222-8530. If you would like to donate to our ministry, please visit https://give.citymission.org/for/citmis/info/preheader
"If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." - James 2:15-17 Unfortunately, homelessness remains a grim reality for many individuals in the United States. In Pennsylvania alone, thousands of people lack safe shelter on any given night. This alarming fact speaks to our community's difficult realities. And homelessness is a challenge across all ages, races, and backgrounds; its effects are far-reaching as it carries severe consequences to physical health and implications on mental and emotional well-being. At City Mission, we understand that homelessness is not only about the lack of housing but a multi-faceted problem that needs an expansive response to identify and tackle its root causes. Through providing individuals and families with access to resources and life-changing programs, our mission endeavors to help those affected gain stability & independence once again. Our faith-based organization attempts to go beyond providing resources and services - by embracing Christ's unconditional love, we create holistic experiences that offer both physical renewal and spiritual nourishment backed by an abundance of compassion. Our commitment to this kind of individualized care is what sets us apart and makes us unique. What Does This Look Like for Our Residents? "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"- Matthew 25:40 City Mission aims to provide comfort and care to all in need. We recognize that everyone is valuable and worthy of respect regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or faith. Just as the apostles were called upon to help "the least of these," our organization provides safe refuge for the homeless while also tending to their physical, emotional and spiritual needs, leveraging faith-based values such as kindness and love within an atmosphere grounded in Christian principles. Incorporating Christian principles into the care of the homeless is crucial in creating a holistic and compassionate environment. By upholding values such as love, forgiveness, and selflessness, we hope to provide a sense of dignity and hope to those who may feel neglected by society and their community. Through our mission to share Christ, shelter, heal, and restore the homeless to independent living, we truly fulfill the call to action outlined in Matthew chapter 25 to help those in need and demonstrate the power of love in action. City Mission 2022 Highlights In 2022, with the help of our donors and volunteers, we served over 1100 unique individuals and 116 jobs were obtained through our career training and education center. Below are additional highlights from last year. City Mission provided: • 105,440 Meals • 38,039 Bed Nights • 7,033 Bags of Food for the community • 17,412 medical clinic services * If you like to learn more about our results in 2022, please review our 2022 Annual Report. We are thrilled to share the meaningful results of our supporters' contributions and are grateful to all who have supported our mission to serve the homeless with compassion, love, and faith. Your generosity has allowed us to make a meaningful impact in the lives of those in need, and we hope that you will continue to partner with us in this important work. As we move forward, we are devoted to reaching even more individuals and families who are struggling with homelessness. Donate Today With your support, we can continue to provide shelter, healing, and a path toward independence. Please consider donating today and help us make a difference in the lives of those seeking hope and a better future. Every donation, big or small, helps us fulfill this mission and bring light to those in need. Thank you for your generosity and support. You can send donations to the following address: 84 W. Wheeling Street, Washington, PA 15301. If you require additional donation information, please call us at: (724) 222-8530 or email us at email@example.com.
Seven-year-old Natalie Grasso came to our 29th Annual Sweet Sunday event in February to have a great time and enjoy the delicious treats. After the event, she sat down to have a conversation with her grandmother, Cindy Fox, who had helped to make beautiful auction baskets for the Mission’s Sweet Sunday basket auction. Natalie asked her grandmother about City Mission and learned that they provide food and shelter for people who would otherwise have nowhere to live and no idea where their next meal would come from.“Kids too?” She asked her grandmother.“Yes. Kids too,” came the answer.That brief conversation inspired Natalie to give back to those in need. “She has been giving back from a very young age,” said her grandmother, Cindy Fox. “For her fourth Birthday party, she asked family members to make donations to the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh in lieu of gifts.”With Easter coming up, Natalie was afraid maybe the Easter Bunny wouldn’t be able to find the children living at City Mission, and that maybe they wouldn’t get any Easter baskets or Easter candy for the holiday, so she decided to help the kids by providing them with beautiful Easter baskets. Natalie and her family contacted City Mission, who currently has 27 children living at their Women with Children shelter. They asked for the ages and genders of each child. Natalie mobilized her family and friends and gave up her horseback riding lessons to purchase items to fill 27 baskets for Easter, one basket specifically assembled for each child at the shelter. She and her friends assembled and wrapped the beautiful baskets, and Cindy and her husband Dr. Craig Fox delivered them to City Mission.“She asked a few friends at school to participate and the families graciously donated items and time to put 27 baskets together for the kids at City Mission,” said Cindy. “She wanted to give back for Easter to kids that are less fortunate,” Cindy explained, “and she decided City Mission would be a great cause. Natalie got together with her sister Vienna and solicited help from friends: Liam, Julianna, Brianna O’Neill, Hayley and McKenna Hindman.”Thank you, Natalie, for your compassionate heart for the hungry and the hurting. Together, City Mission along with our friends in the community, can make the world a better place, one person at a time.
On Tuesday, March 28, thirty-six of our residents had a night out at the movies thanks to Matt and Missy Harding and their family, owners of Asher’s at the Airport and Escape Room South in Canonsburg. Our residents: men, women, and veterans were all smiles as they piled into the Mission vans and headed on over to AMC Theaters in Bridgeville to watch Jesus Revolution. The Hardings had rented out the entire theater for us, so our residents could spread out and relax and enjoy a night at the movies.“It was quite an experience for us,” said Missy Harding, whose husband and two sons attended the event along with the residents. “It was a real blessing. I would bet that every single City Mission resident came up to us over the course of the night and thanked us and shook our hands or gave us a hug. That’s a blessing for us to think that it impacted them that much.”The Hardings own Asher’s at theAirport, a breakfast and lunch restaurant at the Greene County Airport in Waynesburg. A few weekends ago, they had their soft opening, and generously, all of the proceeds from the opening went to us. Our House Coordinator, Doug Bush, had been wanting to take our residents to see Jesus Revolution, but there was no money in the budget to make it happen. After Asher at the Airport’s soft opening, we reached out to Missy Harding to see if she would be interested in using the money raised at the soft opening to rent out a theater for our residents. “It was such a pleasure to be able to do that for City Mission,” said Harding. “We would be happy to do it again. The homeless are always on our hearts. Everybody just needs a little bit of support to have a second chance, and that’s what the Mission gives them.”And our residents were incredibly grateful for the opportunity. One resident told the Hardings, “Thank you so much for your beautiful gift. The movie meant a lot to me. God bless you.” Another resident said, “The movie gave me peace in the midst of my trials – and hope!” Asher’s at the Airport is now open for business. Many of their dishes and desserts are made from scratch using fresh, locally-sourced products. You can find details HERE.By donating to City Mission, you can help restore our residents to independent living. Please consider giving to the Mission today. You can make a difference in the lives of those in our community who need it most.
Homelessness is a growing problem in Southwestern Pennsylvania, with more and more individuals and families struggling to secure stable housing. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, over 15,000 individuals in the state experience homelessness on any given night, and this number continues to rise. To address this issue, it is essential to implement wraparound programs that provide homeless individuals with the resources and support they need to restore their lives and achieve independent living. Housing First Initiatives to end homelessness have largely proven to be ineffective, because they de-emphasize the need for supportive services to address the root cause of homelessness in the lives of individuals. In his article, “Housing First is a Failure,” Judge Glock, a Senior Fellow at the Cicero Institute explains, “[Housing First] is expensive, ineffective, and, often, counterproductive. While some individuals may benefit from Permanent Support Housing, as a sole strategy for ‘ending homelessness,’ it has and will continue to frustrate the cities that pursue it.” He adds that states and cities that have adopted the Housing First approach have seen the homeless crisis actually rise in their communities. “The state of Arizona has built over 7,000 permanent homes for the homeless since 2010,” he writes, “enough to house every unsheltered person when they began, but the number of Arizonians living on the streets has increased by 50% in recent years.” If we are going to combat the homelessness problem, we must embrace and invest in each individual, helping them find their way and achieve their potential. Wraparound services help people build confidence, construct their identities, and discover ways to be happy and productive members of society. What are Wraparound Programs? Wraparound programs are a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing the complex problems of those in need. These programs provide a wide range of services: case management, mental health services, job training and placement, healthcare, educational opportunities, and much more. The goal of these programs is to provide a holistic, individualized, and coordinated response to homelessness, helping individuals overcome the unique challenges they face in their quest for independence. Housing assistance is just one step in the process, one small part of a larger web of support. “One of the unique aspects of City Mission is the quantity and scope of services we offer,” said City Mission Chief Development Officer, Dr. Sally Mounts. “Homelessness is a very complicated problem. Generally, several factors create a perfect storm that cause someone to be homeless. It’s not a single circumstance. So the more services we offer, the better chance we can eliminate more barriers to homelessness.” “Our goal,” added Director of Programs, Leah Dietrich, “is to create a safety net or supportive network around each resident, so they are receiving services during their stay and as they transition into independent living. These supportive services help them to address mental health, drug and alcohol, medical and other basic needs. We are blessed to have such wonderful partners in the community.” At City Mission, we pour out the love of Christ onto each and every person who comes to us for help. We approach them with love. We guide them with love. We believe in their future. Why are Wraparound Programs Needed? Homeless individuals in Southwestern Pennsylvania face a barrage of challenges, including poverty, domestic violence, lack of affordable housing, and limited access to resources and support. Supportive services managed with a coordinated and individualized approach are essential to overcoming these challenges. Wraparound programs offer the support and resources necessary to overcome these barriers and achieve independent living. “Wraparound services increase an individual’s chances of success by creating touch points and supporting a resident who is facing challenges,” explained Dietrich. “Each service provider is working with the individual to remove barriers. They might help the person to manage their medications, address concerns with a landlord, navigate a custody situation or find a new psychiatrist. Each of these challenges might be overwhelming, but with supports they are manageable.” The Benefits of Wraparound Programs Wraparound services are crucial to combatting homelessness, because they offer each person the support they need to overcome their own unique barriers to independence. “If a resident has a goal of independent living, we provide support as they complete housing applications, develop a budget and save towards that goal,” said Dietrich. “If a resident is facing a barrier in their health, we can help them to schedule appointments and get follow-up care and help them to navigate the healthcare system. Our medical team also provides a supportive service as they can explain health information, review medications, and help get answers from providers when needed. Providing this 1-to-1 care makes a big difference in the success of the residents that we serve.” Homelessness is a growing problem in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and it is essential to address this issue with a comprehensive and integrated approach. By implementing wraparound services, we can make a positive impact in the lives of those in need and help to make a brighter future for us all.
Earlier this week, Jeremiah moved out of the Mission and into his very own place. Staff and residents prayed him out on Monday. On Wednesday, he started his new job on the Residential Support Staff at City Mission. Jeremiah came to us in June of 2022 from the Washington County Jail and stayed with us for 183 days. During that time, he worked on his recovery and eventually became a Resident Assistant, assisting the City Mission staff and mentoring the new residents at the Mission. “I really think he found his self-worth here,” said Brad Nelson, City Mission’s intake coordinator. “He found the person who God intended him to be.” One of Jeremiah’s favorite memories from his time here is when he was asked to join a team of staff and residents to help represent City Mission in a local 4th of July Parade. “That was a lot of fun,” he said. “You know, I spent time in jail, and I just thought people were always going to look at me like a convict. But people were happy to see us that day – happy to see me. It helped me realize that people can look at me differently.” “This place is amazing,” he said about City Mission. “The employees actually care about you from the moment you walk through the door.” “Everything changed for me since I came here,” he added. “My whole outlook changed. For the first time, when I look in the mirror now, I don’t see a convict or a loser or someone who’s gonna amount to nothing. I feel like I have a future. This place made me love myself. I’ve never felt that before. And if I just keep doing what I learned here, there are no boundaries for me in my future. This place has just opened up so many opportunities for me to help people. It’s unbelievable!”
Helping the homeless can take different forms — food, shelter, and donations in kind, for example. However, another aspect of homeless aid comes from free and accessible healthcare. Homeless people are at risk of physical, mental, and social burdens that impact their morbidity and mortality compared to the rest of the general population. A Nature article on healthcare for the homeless attributes factors such as extreme poverty and harsh living environments as causes of poor health for the homeless, not to mention the prevalence of alcohol and drug dependence within the demographic. In fact, according to the World Bank, the average life expectancy for people experiencing homelessness in the US is 50 — approximately 28 years or less than the overall life expectancy. At our Medical Clinic, some of the most common health issues experienced by our residents range from mental health to diabetes, hypertension, and COPD. In a previous City Mission post about common ailments, we discussed how homeless people who live outdoors are more exposed to elements, making them vulnerable to wounds and skin infections. On top of that, homeless people are prone to malnutrition due to a lack of steady access to food — healthy food in particular — as well as mental health problems due to costly psychiatric help that is often inaccessible to them. Another critical point in the struggle for appropriate healthcare is that most people experiencing homelessness choose to ignore their health issues for a long time. They only seek help once in severe pain or showing symptoms of advanced medical conditions. Our Medical Clinic Manager, Rich Moore, observes that many of the homeless "have a fear of getting a diagnosis because it would be just one more problem" for them, from how to afford medicine to how to store them. Today, we want to highlight some of the ways we are making healthcare more accessible to the homeless: Ways to support them At City Mission, our Medical Care services include new medical facilities that offer free preventive, primary, and urgent healthcare to those who may need it. This includes drug-free pain management as well as chiropractic services. When residents first arrive at City Mission, our first order of business is helping them get Medical Insurance before setting them up with a Primary Care Physician through our partners at Centerville Clinics. Residents also receive free cell phones through Lifeline to communicate with medical providers and referrals to providers and services. On top of healthcare necessities, we also provide them with the tools to help themselves, such as access to nutritious meals, hygiene items, and clean, comfortable beds. However, we can still do a lot to make necessary healthcare accessible to those who need it. Here are a few: Connect them with telehealth professionals While on-site healthcare and free clinics contribute significantly to providing medical care for the homeless, an alternative that can widen the program's reach and impact is helping them connect remotely to healthcare professionals. During the pandemic, remote nurse practitioners here in Pennsylvania and across the US were well-equipped to prescribe primary care services like erectile dysfunction, birth control, UTI, and similar treatment areas – which are essential for the quality of life among homeless patients. Today, telehealth services remain effective for mental health services, connecting patients in need to qualified and trained professionals who are available on more flexible schedules than their in-person counterparts. Services from telehealth nurse practitioners are accessible and essential, given the rapidly aging population in PA. In some cases, telehealth services can be helpful in place of physical hospitals and clinics as the homeless may need immediate care or advice. As they are more vulnerable to certain diseases, having remote, 24/7 access to qualified healthcare providers can help them get medical advice and care when needed. Provide access to self-care interventions Aside from telehealth access, providing accessible healthcare to the homeless can include self-care interventions. Research from the World Health Organization defines self-care as the ability to maintain health with or without a health worker. This ranges from eating a healthier diet to varying ways of managing stress. Self-care interventions include evidence-based devices, diagnostics, and digital technologies provided outside formal health services and used with or without a health worker. For example, self-administered injectable contraception or self-tests for HIV and pregnancy can address common medical concerns for homeless people. As you can see, there are many ways to help make appropriate and free medical care accessible to the homeless. These are made possible thanks to advancements in digital technologies. With the collective effort of volunteers and communities, we can continue to find new ways to bring quality healthcare closer to homeless men and women.