Opportunity Center for the Homeless hosts health clinic

A volunteer helps a patient at the H.O.P.E Clinic

The El Paso Opportunity Center for the Homeless is hosting a free health clinic to help provide health care to low-income or homeless individuals.

The Health, Opportunity, Prevention, Education (H.O.P.E) clinic offers blood tests, vaccines, sight and hearing tests, tests for HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and syphilis. Patients who qualify could receive immunization, cervical and colon cancer tests, and mammography service vouchers. In order to be qualified for these services, patients must be Medicaid recipients or uninsured.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for those that we serve, which is about 300 people a night as we work through it, for them to get caught up on their vaccinations, to get their blood checked, and take a look at some basic primary health issues,” said Development Director for the Opportunity for the Homeless, John Martin.

The H.O.P.E clinic works with UTEP’s College of Health Sciences and Centro San Vicente to help provide basic health care needs to those who may not be able to afford to make it to the doctor’s office for checkups, appointments, and physicals. Over 60 students from UTEP and other colleges will give participants free services and health education classes. El Paso Fighting Hunger is providing food bags, and participants will also get a free pair of socks.

Martin said that nearly 80 percent of the “workers” who helped provide care to the patients are volunteers from the Health and Sciences department at UTEP.

“By doing this, we’re basically being good neighbors because we do take care of our own,” Martin said.

“Many times, that when you look at the homeless and the fact that we’re a border community, you tend to believe that it’s a transient population or it’s a very migrant-heavy population, and the reality is, that over 90 percent of the individuals that we serve here at the Opportunity Center had a former address in El Paso. So these are our neighbors.”

Martin said that his goal is for UTEP and other institutions of learning more heavily-involved in helping educate the most vulnerable members of the community, who he says, are homeless individuals.

There is still time to make it to the clinic, as it will last until 7 p.m. today at 1208 Myrtle Ave. The event is held bi-annually. The last one was held in October 2017 and had around 200 patients show up.

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