Aid to homeless given by mobile medical unit


by BRIAN NADIG

The city’s mobile medical services unit has been stationed at the Jefferson Park CTA terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave., on most Mondays since February in an effort to treat the homeless in the area.

"We locate our mobile units in areas where there are high concentrations of homeless people," city Department of Family and Support Services spokesman Matt Smith said. "Most are aware of our presence and will approach the mobile unit requesting assistance. In other cases we will have staff approach homeless people in the area and let them know what services are offered."

When needed, a mobile unit driver will arrange transportation for an individual to a detox center, and 911 is called in cases of medical emergencies, Smith said.

The mobile unit usually is parked at the terminal from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, but on some occasions it is assigned elsewhere. "Given demands in other area of the city, we won’t be able to have it at Jeff Park with as great frequency as we have in recent months," Smith said.

The unit is expected to be in Jefferson Park at least once a month for the foreseeable future, Smith said. "The mobile unit works with homeless citywide, and is not limited to transit centers," he said. "For now they are assigned specific locations on a daily basis, but the overall plan is to have them travel from one homeless hot spot to the next in the hopes of spreading out our services to those who need them."

The mobile unit has not been in Jefferson Park on a regular basis since 2007, when the department formed a coalition of city agencies, chambers of commerce and social service organizations to address the issue of homelessness on the Northwest Side. The coalition conducted missions at viaducts, CTA terminals and parks and had social workers and doctors available to meet with the homeless.


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