Street Medicine and Outreach: Bringing Care to People Where They Are

National Health Care for the Homeless Council and HCH Clinician’s Network
June 2022


Report explores the definition and components of street medicine and outreach, as well as provides best practices for delivering this type of care.


People experiencing homelessness often have complex health needs, including co-occurring physical, mental and substance use needs. This population faces many unique barriers to care, including lack of transportation and documentation, as well as difficulties attending to related activities of daily living, like tracking appointments and managing medications, among other activities.


This report describes how street medicine and outreach can be deployed to better serve the needs of people experiencing homelessness. The report delineates the spectrum of street outreach types and how different outreach approaches may be combined, depending on community needs and resources. For example, some outreach is designed to build rapport with individuals in a way that ultimately leads to clinic-based care, while street medicine is provided where the client is located and without expectation of clinic-based care.

The report also details examples of street medicine delivered in both urban and rural communities and provides best practices, such as using a trauma-informed approach and involving peer supports. 


This report can support providers looking to establish or enhance a street medicine practice to better support people experiencing homelessness.

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