Healthcare for the Homeless clinic closing
PORTLAND (WGME) -- Portland's Healthcare for the Homeless clinic is shutting down.
The clinic, which serves thousands of people a year, lost its federal grant money. Now, some of the city's neediest patients are scrambling to find a new place to go.
Another cold winter day, means another stop at the city's Healthcare for the Homeless clinic for Matthew Taylor. This time, he's in for frostbite.
"For this finger with frostbite, it's probably over a thousand dollars for it to be looked at and taken care of," he said.
But, the clinic he relies on is about to close.
A $680,000 federal grant the clinic relied on for a third of its budget went to a different clinic this year, the Portland Community Health Center.
"They can't close!" he said. "I don't know where else I would go right now."
He's not the only one taking it hard. Matthew Coffey has been going to the clinic for 10 years. He says it's a lifesaver.
"Instead of me running up a bunch of bills at the emergency room or wasting their time with stuff that can be handled at a clinic like this. It's very important," said Coffey.
12 full-time and 24 part-time employees will lose jobs. The city worries that many of the homeless will fall through the cracks trying to transition to a new place that will serve fewer people.
"That's why we've gone back to the federal government and said we're really concerned about the 1,400 people that are not going to be served and asked them to provide funding to allow us to do that," said Mayor Michael Brennan.
Patients who attend the clinic say workers have been very helpful trying to find them new healthcare services. But, they say this place is still an important part of the community and it shouldn't go away.
"These people volunteer to work with the homeless," said Coffey. "They obviously care."
The grant is set to expire at the end of April. The city is hoping to get an extension until the end of the year.