Giving Shelter and Health Care to Homeless in Savannah, Ga.
Union Mission, a nonprofit organization in Savannah, Ga., operates a health care facility that provides a range of outpatient and inpatient services to the local homeless population. The facility—named the J.C. Lewis Health Center—is part of an integrated system of homeless assistance programs offered by Union Mission in collaboration with other community groups and government agencies.
Two competing hospital organizations—Memorial Health University Medical Center and St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital System—helped develop and support the health center and related shelter clinics.
For many health needs of the homeless, the Lewis center offers a comprehensive, efficient option to hospital emergency room and inpatient care.
In addition to treating physical, mental and substance abuse problems, the health center staff tries to guide patients into educational, employment and counseling programs that will help them end their homelessness.
In its first three years of operation, the health center saved the two hospital organizations $34.3 million in uncompensated care, Union Mission reported in August 2003.