by Max Brantley
In an earlier item, I posted a comment from Mayor Mark Stodola that referenced an effort to put a medical center in the day center for the homeless that the city plans to open on Confederate Boulevard.
Leslie Newell Peacock got some more details from the mayor on the plan, as well as a progress report on the center itself. It follows:
The Open Hands clinic for the homeless operated by the Community Health Centers of Arkansas Inc. at Martin Luther King will move into the city's Day Resource Center for the Homeless when it opens on Confederate Boulevard, Mayor Mark Stodola said.
Stodola said he'd been in talks with CHC head, Sip Mouton, and homeless health advocate Sandra Brown, an RN, about providing health care at the DRC. He said the clinic will have 1,200 to 1,800 square feet of space in the DRC.
The city bought the 13,000-square-foot building at 3000 Confederate last year from the Union Rescue Mission, which is building a larger facility across the street. The Union Rescue Mission will include a variety of services and 190 beds. The city will open the DRC when it completes work on the first floor of the building; the Union Rescue Mission is now using the ground floor, which is entered from behind the building, which is below street level.
Stodola said he'd hoped to open the DRC by the end of the month, but Homeless Coordinator Jimmy Pritchett's health — he had a stroke — has put work behind schedule, he said.
The clinic, which is operated by Jefferson Comprehensive Care under a contract with the CHC, will be staffed by an advanced practice nurse and LPNs, Stodola said. Doctors will visit. It will offer comprehensive care, including dental. The city also has a year contract with Harmony Health Clinic at 201 E. Roosevelt to care for the homeless.
Stodola said he hopes to be able to provide meals with the help of a faith-based service and to acquire land in back of the building, where a garden to provide fresh vegetables could be put in.