Frontline Homeless Health Care: Street Medicine Oakland

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Anthony has been homeless in Oakland, California, for 20-plus years. LifeLong Medical Care’s Street Medicine Team has helped him with both physical and mental health care, including case management. Anthony now gets care regularly and has his prescriptions filled on time. In fact, Anthony was recently approved for an apartment, which is incredibly rare because there’s a lack of housing available.

One of the unique aspects of Lifelong Medical Care’s street medicine program is that it is designed to be a lifelong resource for its patients. This means that the teams provide immediate medical care and work with patients to connect them with more permanent healthcare solutions, such as enrolling in insurance programs or finding a primary care provider.

West Oakland is facing a massive homeless crisis of predominantly Black Americans. Seventy percent of the people served by Lifelong Medical Care are black Americans, which is the result of systemic racism and growing gentrification.

Between 2005 and 2015, 450,000 positions opened in the Bay area, mainly in the tech sector. However, only 50,000 housing units were added during this time. West Oakland and other neighborhoods saw rapid expansion and gentrification. In 2005, West Oakland’s demographic was 40%, Black people. In 2015, it was 25% Black people.

Street medicine is the direct delivery of healthcare to people experiencing homelessness in their
environment on the streets, in the river beds, under bridges, or wherever they reside. Animated by their values of love and solidarity, the street medicine movement has spread throughout California in response to a growing homeless crisis. This video series captures the common philosophy guiding the work and the diversity in practice throughout California. Accompany street medicine teams on their journey to care for the beautiful people they serve living on our streets, who inspire the movement forward.

In this four-part series, Brett Feldman, Director of Keck Street Medicine at the University of Southern California, introduces us to four Street Medicine programs that deliver healthcare in the woods, under the bridges, behind dumpsters, and wherever else people who are experiencing homelessness are living. Today, join us as we go out on the streets of Oakland with Dr. Jason Reinking and the LifeLong Medical Care’s Street Medicine Team.

This video series is brought to you by the Invisible People and the California Health Care Foundation to augment street medicine research in California. Please visit for more information.

Episode One: Street Medicine Redding: Health Care to Rural Homeless Camps

Episode Three: Street Medicine Bakersfield: Reaching Homeless People through their Pets

Episode Four: Street Medicine LA: Health Care in an Urban Homeless Crisis

About the California Health Care Foundation:

The California Health Care Foundation is dedicated to advancing meaningful, measurable improvements in the way the health care delivery system provides care to the people of California, particularly those with low incomes and those whose needs are not well served by the status quo. We work to ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.

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Invisible People


We imagine a world where everyone has a place to call home. Until then, we strive to be the most trusted source for homelessness news, education and advocacy.

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