Since 1985, Care for the Homeless has met the health care and social service needs of homeless people in New York City. Homeless people have special needs that make it difficult to access services. For example, homeless people are most often displaced from their neighborhood of origin, do not have regular access to a phone, and focus on seeking shelter and food, not health care and social services.
To reduce barriers that homeless people face in accessing care, Care for the Homeless coordinates health care at 23 service sites where homeless people congregate and without regard to their ability to pay. Their service sites include shelters for single adults, family shelters, soup kitchens, drop-in centers, and a street outreach program to the mentally ill in four of New York City's five boroughs.
In addition to these basic health-related services, their contracted medical providers refer clients, when appropriate, to their social service professionals who address a range of psychosocial needs among homeless people, including mental health and substance use services, and entitlement benefits, including help with Medicaid.