Homeless Health Care program services continue to evolve amid COVID-19

Since we modified the services to our Homeless Health Care program at the start of the Safer at Home order in mid-March, Venice Family Clinic substantially changed our services to respond to COVID-19’s impact on people who experience homelessness. As some of our most vulnerable patients, people who are unhoused face unique challenges when it comes to staying healthy amid a pandemic, including the ability to safely self-isolate.

Dr. Coley King, who leads our Homeless Health Care program and street medicine teams, is grateful for the ability to more quickly find housing for Venice Family Clinic’s patients experiencing homelessness. “It’s really a big deal,” he said, referring to Project Roomkey, a collaborative effort between the state, county and the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to secure temporary housing for vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.

“Placing someone in the Project Roomkey system who is 65 years old or older is easy, given their higher risk factors if they were to get COVID-19. But if they’re younger than that, our medical team can share if they have a chronic disease that would make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 – and a good share of our patients under 65 do have a disabling condition that makes them more vulnerable,” King said.

We continue to provide in-person services at our Rose Avenue location, as well as at The People Concern Annenberg Access Center. We have also modified, adjusted, and in some cases, expanded our homeless services in order to respond to the ever-changing circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is an update on our services for people experiencing homelessness:

  • Venice Family Clinic medical staff are providing care at three hotels and motels in Venice, Century City and Lawndale that are a part of Project Roomkey.
  • We continue to provide services at A Bridge Home temporary shelter in Venice.
  • We have restarted our medical services at a Safe Place for Youth, which serves young people experiencing homelessness.
  • We continue to perform wellness checks on our patients living on the streets.
  • We are collaborating with the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to test people for COVID-19 at homeless encampments. We are active in three locations: on 3rd Avenue and Rose Avenue, on Rose Avenue across from Penmar Park, and on Venice Boulevard and Globe Avenue.
  • Our 604 Rose Avenue location is a testing site for people experiencing homelessness on the Westside. Although we provide testing at all of our locations, our Rose Avenue location is closest to where many of our unhoused patients live and provides the majority of the testing.
  • We are testing for COVID-19 in shelters managed by some of our partner agencies, including PATH and The People Concern (beginning Wednesday, June 17, 2020).
  • In partnership with UCLA Family Medicine, we provide medical care at a City of Los Angeles temporary shelter in Westchester.
  • We work with the County Department of Health Services to provide access to quarantine and isolation rooms for our patients if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms.