Health Care at Nightwatch
Serving from 95 to 205 homeless people a night, we at Operation Nightwatch have found it impossible not to be unaware of their health needs. Through a network of volunteer health professionals recruited and supervised by our Health Care Coordinator, Kristen Murray, we have been able to make each of our Hospitality Centers venues for primary health care.
While there are currently fourteen community health clinics in Multnomah County, our experience among those we serve is that there remain many unserved and underserved people whose needs our health professionals address. Furthermore, our context provides certain advantages in addressing their needs:
- We work in the evening, when other clinics are closed. Some people cannot access health care at any other time.
- Other clinics work on an “appointment only” basis. Many folks on the streets often miss appointments because of inabilities to manage time. They are often very poor at planning beyond the current day. Many do not even possess timepieces. We will be open to any who attend our Hospitality Centers.
- Most importantly, our clinics will work within the context of our Hospitality Centers where our emphasis has been upon building longstanding relationships with our guests. Many of those we serve are distrustful of those in the medical establishment. By making our health care adjunct to our Hospitality Centers themselves, folks who have neglected their health may trust the professionals who work through Nightwatch precisely because they have long known they can trust Nightwatch itself.