Homeless Outreach & Advocacy Project (HOAP)


A HOAP nurse provides medical care to a HOAP client.Many years ago, Community Healthlink recognized that so many of the homeless in our society also battle mental illness and often a substance abuse problem. In 1985, the Homeless Outreach & Advocacy Project was established with a commitment to link the region’s homeless to a comprehensive array of services that would include screenings, assessments, counseling, health care, rehabilitation, and referral to other support systems.

Physicians, registered nurses and nurse practitioners perform medical evaluations at HOAP’s primary care clinic, located at 162 Chandler Street in Worcester, and also visit area shelters to evaluate and refer people for treatment. A psychiatrist and a team of licensed clinicians perform mental health screenings and offer counseling and medications. Case Management staff help clients enroll in available health insurance programs, access health care and social security benefits, and resolve other benefits-related issues.

Outreach performed by HOAP staff is done in the community, through a variety of shelters and other emergency care programs. Staff also seeks to establish contact with homeless individuals at vacant lots, and even along railroad tracks and bridges. Basic services are also available at HOAP’s primary care clinic and staff offices.

HOAP offers services in partnership with other local agencies, including healthcare providers, mental health and substance abuse treatment providers, faith-based communities and local city and community organizations. In addition to its counseling and support services, HOAP staff help manage scattered-site housing in the Worcester area for unaccompanied homeless adults and at-risk families.