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August 10, 1984

Medical Care for the Homeless

Author Affiliations

Columbus, Ga

JAMA. 1984;252(6):766. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350060018011

To the Editor.—  I endorse the concern and efforts of Dr Brickner to improve medical care for the nation's homeless as expressed recently in The Journal.1 The well-organized and funded steps planned are long overdue. Until those plans are implemented, however, there exists an effective, albeit less sophisticated, framework for aiding our nation's homeless. Specifically, medical professionals can immediately and effectively provide assistance to many of the nation's poor, homeless, and jobless by attending to them where these persons have retreated to survive, eg, the established "missions" and "soup kitchens."Each Sunday, I spend a few hours at the local Valley Rescue Mission (a Christian-oriented, nonprofit room-and-board facility), attending to the resident indigent men, women, and children. Examining, reassuring, referring, and prescribing for them costs me very little, and the rewards are priceless—genuine gratitude. The experience has developed in me a deep appreciation not only for the good fortune