A new medical clinic, run by students and professionals from the UC Riverside School of Medicine, will soon serve Riverside’s homeless population.
UC Riverside received a $600,000 grant from the UniHealth Foundation and other city funds to reopen a medical clinic for the homeless at 2880 Hulen Place, a university press release said. The clinic, which is slated to open in January 2023, is near several homeless shelters and supportive housing programs and a few miles from downtown Riverside.
The Hulen Place Clinic will be part of the Riverside Access Center and replace a former medical clinic run by the nonprofit Health to Hope, which went bankrupt in 2019.
“This is not a shelter, respite or transitional housing, or a behavioral health center,” said Don Larsen, CEO of UCR Health, the clinical arm of the School of Medicine. “Hulen Place Clinic serves the primary care needs of this population, initially within this small community of shelters that have sprung up in Riverside. It lowers a barrier to accessing care and responds to an important need in the community: health care.
The 2,500 square foot clinic will include two exam rooms, a special room for minor procedures such as skin lacerations and an emergency care room. The clinic is not intended for emergency services, officials said. Exact hours are being determined, but officials plan to be open weekdays, with walk-in and walk-in service available.
The location of the clinic was intentional, city officials said.
The clinic will be in the same cul-de-sac block – known as the Homeless Service Campus on Hulen Place – as the Path of Life Ministries homeless shelter, a mental health supportive housing unit, supportive housing and other services.
Leonard R. Jarman, solutions manager at Path of Life Ministries, said Hulen Place will be “the first such medical clinic” since Health to Hope closed. Path of Life opened a mobile medical clinic in 2011 for those in its shelter, which later expanded into the Hulen Place building until it ceased operation in 2019.
“(The clinic) will provide vital medical services to one of the most vulnerable populations. This will help the community and local homeless service providers by giving homeless individuals and families more convenient access to health care,” Jarman said via email. “It is also much more cost-effective to serve the homeless population in community clinics, rather than in emergency rooms.”
Riverside is home to about 20% of Riverside County’s homeless population, according to city data, including 514 people who are homeless according to the county’s latest point-in-time count. The clinic is expected to see up to 4,800 patients a year, including 1,300 chronically homeless, UCR officials said.
Homeless people experience high rates of health problems, including HIV infections, tuberculosis, cancer, alcohol and drug abuse, UCR Health officials said.
The clinic will target underserved homeless children and adults who need preventative care, as well as those with chronic health conditions. such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and mental health disorders. It will serve all ages, from pediatric to geriatric groups.
.@UCRiverside received a #to agree of the UniHealth Foundation to reopen a #clinical who will address the #Health care needs of #homeless people in #Riverside County. https://t.co/t0vQ4LOIOF #homelessness #without housing #health #SoCal #California #subsidies @UCRSanté @UCRSoM
— UCR Science News (@UCR_ScienceNews) June 7, 2022
The Town of Riverside provided a $567,228 Federal Community Development Block Grant to renovate the space and reduced the rent. City officials said they want to see a “successful holistic care approach” to homelessness that combines the need for medical services, employment supports, education and housing programs.
In a statement, Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said the city “welcomes partnerships like this” with UC Riverside, homeless shelters and others.
“This new medical clinic will add to a holistic care approach that integrates primary care, mental health, housing, employment support, life skills education and housing connections,” said said Lock Dawson.
The university plans to employ its medical students, residents and faculty on rotation at the clinic, officials said. Primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and the clinic’s medical team will work with shelters, health and housing agencies to identify patient needs.
“We provide care, but we also teach, which is one of our main missions, to train the future doctors of the Inland Empire,” Larsen said.
Dr. Takashi Wada, chief medical officer of Inland Empire Health Plan, said the insurance agency was “delighted” to partner with UC Riverside through funding and managed care services” improved” for its members.
“It is very difficult to improve health outcomes when our members face challenges related to these basic needs, so addressing housing and homelessness is a high priority,” Wada said. “Hulen Place is well placed to function as a sort of centralized navigation hub for the homeless with multiple organizations and community services supporting this vulnerable population.”