Winston-Salem, NC - In Forsyth County, more than half of the homeless report they have a mental disorder, and Wake Forest Baptist is joining in the fight to help end homelessness through an innovative program that gives free health services to homeless people living with mental disorders.
The program is called the Homeless Opportunity and Treatment Project (HOT), and was established in 2009 with funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.
The Trust awarded a second grant of $822,870 to the Medical Center to help expand the program.
In the program, doctors from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center see homeless patients at Samaritan Ministries, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Winston-Salem.
Dr. Liz Arnold is director of the HOT project, and says, "Our goal was to develop a program that removes all barriers for accessing care and lets people know about the services we can offer them with the help of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust."
Arnold went on to say, "By having our clinic at the Samaritan Ministries shelter, we are able to reach more people who might not otherwise seek out mental health services in traditional settings."
Through the program, patients recieve free psychiatric medications through a collaborative effort with CenterPoint Human Services.
The HOT project is also a part of the Medical Center's efforts to aid the homeless through the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Ten-Year Plan to End Chronic Homeless.