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Mobile Clinic Serves Homeless in New Hampshire

Staff at Lamprey Health Care in Newmarket, N.H., know that persistence is key to reaching the local homeless population. 

Some people may not know that services are available in languages other than English, while others may simply be skittish. So those who work in the mobile clinics that serve homeless people have learned to take their time with prospective patients. They may have to visit more than once before becoming patients, said Sue Durkin, co-CEO at Lamprey. 

“A lot of times they’ll come by a few times. We welcome people just to stop by and get to know us,” she said. 

Lamprey has a center in Nashua, the state’s second largest city after Manchester, and dispatches its mobile clinic to sites that have sizable homeless populations there, such as the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter. More than half of the Nashua patients speak languages other than English, with Spanish and Portuguese being the most common, Durkin said. “A lot of our staff is bilingual or trilingual,” she said. 

Many factors contribute to homelessness, including a lack of affordable housing and drug addiction. “It’s a very big issue in our state. We do focus quite a bit on those services,” Durkin said. 

Lamprey expanded its services to a local non-profit called Stepping Stones, which focuses on helping homeless teens and young adults. The organization approached the health center because it found that many young people were using emergency rooms for medical services because they had nowhere else to go. 

Durkin said Lamprey works to welcome those patients and let them know that they can come in for an array of services, not just emergencies.  “We want to be with people for the long run.”