August 5, 2009
Contact: Jamie Arehart (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267-350-7699)

Homeless Health Center Expanding to Serve More Clients

PHILADELPHIA-Four years ago, Connie Naylor was jobless, homeless and suffering from depression and various physical ailments. Then she came to Mary Howard Health Center. "I would not be alive now if it weren't for Mary Howard," says Naylor. Offering comprehensive primary health care, Public Health Management Corporation's Mary Howard Health Center is the only health center for Philadelphia's homeless population. Through the health center, Naylor received the medical care and behavioral health services she needed and soon moved into permanent housing. Now, thanks to stimulus funding, Mary Howard Health Center can offer an even larger safety net to Philadelphia's homeless population.

In June, Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) learned it had received new funding for Mary Howard Health Center as part of the stimulus package passed by Congress in March. "The stimulus funds will help us to expand our examination rooms and provide staff for additional hours on Saturdays," says Elaine Fox, vice president of specialized health services at PHMC, who manages the center along with several other health centers in Philadelphia. "It will also help us to accommodate the growing number of homeless persons."

As the economy worsens and more people are at risk of losing their homes, the importance of offering affordable, high-quality health care has never been greater. "The need for space at Mary Howard Health Center is very real," says Pat Coyle, a registered nurse at the center. "Between staff and clients, it can get extremely crowded in here. We often only have standing room in the waiting room." Fox notes, "Access to health care is a critical element in helping our homeless population become self-sufficient."

Currently, the clinic has four examination rooms and reaches, on average, 25 people daily. After the construction, which includes six new exam rooms, an expansion of its lab room and an additional room for behavioral health staff, the center will be able to serve a projected 70 clients per day or 10,000 visits annually. "We're very excited about this," says Frank Killian, director of Nursing Centers Network Operations for PHMC. "The stimulus funds greatly increase the number of people we can serve."

Health center construction to expanding to the 4th floor of the Sheridan Building, which is set to kick off in the fall, will add an extra 3,000 square feet to the center's current size. Mary Howard Health Center plans to celebrate both the center's expansion as well as National Health Centers Week by recognizing its leading supporters, including Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, in a ceremony on Thursday, August 13. For more information about this event, please contact Jamie Arehart at 267-305-7699.


About Mary Howard Health Center
Mary Howard Health Center is a comprehensive primary care health center based on the premise that continuous, comprehensive health care for the homeless is achievable. It began in 1997 as part of the Health Care for the Homeless project, along with support from Philadelphia's Department of Health and Human Services, the Independence Foundation, and other public and private funders.

About PHMC
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, businesses and other community-based organizations. It fulfills its mission to improve the health of the community by providing outreach, health promotion, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services. Formerly the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972.