Strengthening Healthcare Services in Shelters

June 14, 2024

Cindy King and Diana Williams

Post-Covid, our staff report a significant increase in the number of shelter guests who are medically fragile. To address these growing needs, we continue to strengthen our in-house healthcare services. Thanks to the generous support of a local family foundation, we have introduced key healthcare roles within our shelters, including a healthcare navigator and a part-time nurse. They work diligently to connect guests with primary-care physicians, to help them navigate complicated medical care, and to offer encouragement. Diana Williams, Healthcare Navigator, aptly describes our approach to care for medically vulnerable guests as a team effort: “It’s like a puzzle. We’re all a team here. Everybody has the pieces, and then they connect and the puzzle is complete.”

We are also building out layers of support with community medical partners to meet the growing demand for healthcare services among our shelter guests. Initiatives such as the onsite nurse from Charlotte Community Health Clinic and monthly blood-pressure clinics conducted by Nurses Serving Our Neighbors (NSON) have been instrumental in delivering personalized care. NSON also accompanies shelter guests to medical appointments to provide informed support. In addition, partnerships with Atrium Health’s Mobile Medicine Units and Novant Health’s Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic allow guests access to medical providers who are working with our team members.

Roof Above Nurse Cindy King says, “We are changing the face of health here at these shelters because we are here, we are available, and we are able to spot things that need to be taken care of.”

Through these concerted efforts, we are not just providing shelter; we are fostering a culture of holistic care and empowerment for our vulnerable guests, ensuring they receive the support and attention they need.