EUGENE, Ore. – A new outreach team run by HIV Alliance will provide medical and support services for Lane County’s unhoused population.
Lane County approved a contract with HIV Alliance Tuesday that will fund four outreach workers, an emergency medical technician and a nurse practitioner to proactively provide services in areas where the homeless gather.
Program Director Amanda McCluskey said the teams will serve all of Lane County, with a focus on the Eugene-Springfield area.
McCluskey said the staff will provide immediate medical care as well as help connect people with more permanent housing and additional support.
“So if somebody needs a prescription right then or some wound care, or if there's something that the nurse practitioner or EMT can do for them right there, they'll do it,” McCluskey said. “Then outreach workers can help make sure the person gets connected to the follow up care.”
McCluskey said HIV Alliance already provided services that required street outreach, so this was a natural extension of their mission.
“Like all of the work we do with clients, it has to be client-centered. It'll be based on the goals that the client has for themselves and however we can help them meet those goals,” McCluskey said.
The team is made possible by emergency coronavirus grant money that was awarded to HIV Alliance by the county. As a result, HIV Alliance will also be providing coronavirus testing to the homeless.
“We'll be able to offer COVID testing…as well as HIV testing, Hep C testing, syphilis testing, and then our other harm reduction services like Naloxone and needle exchange,” McCluskey said.
The program is in the start-up phase with a full launch beginning July 1. At the moment, funding only exists for one year, but McCluskey said there’s a high likelihood they will secure more permanent funding.