2019-20 Recipient - Doctors Without Walls - Santa Barbara Street Medicine

Amount Awarded: 
$ 60,000

Community Needs : Family Support Services, Health Care, Homelessness, Mental Health

Project Title: 
Homeless Companion Care Outreach Specialist

Project Description: 

This grant will fund a Companion Care Outreach Specialist who will work 25 hours per week, during the vital daytime hours. 

Doctors Without Walls (DWW) is the only local nonprofit agency providing basic primary medical care directly to the homeless. DWW holds clinics in the evenings at Alameda and Pershing Parks, and at Transition House, for homeless women. They are staffed by 180 volunteers - doctors, nurses, medical students and operations staff - most of whom work during the day.

Some volunteers act as Companion Care Outreach Specialists (CCOS) who seek out homeless clients where they live - often in parks, cars, shelters, on beaches or under freeways. Each client is matched with a specific CCOS who works with them to receive medical and mental health services. The CCOS builds trust, does a preliminary assessment, accompanies clients to appointments, stays with them during treatment and arranges follow up. Since most CCOS volunteers are employed during the day, most are only available in the evenings or at night. As a result, they are unable to connect clients with agencies that only operate during business hours.

This work not only benefits vulnerable individuals in our community, it helps reduce the burden of an already overextended healthcare system.

Volunteers at Doctors Without Walls bring medical assistance to homeless people wherever they are - in parks, cars, shelters, on beaches, under freeways.
A 2015-16 Women’s Fund grant funded a van that enables DWW’s volunteers to go where homeless people need care.
DWW’s Companion Care Outreach Specialists are among 180 doctors, nurses and medical students who volunteer to provide care to homeless neighbors.