Helping the Homeless

A Healing Link:
Partnership with Shelter Brings Care to Homeless Women

For Hilda, home is not a place, but a collection of memories she carries with her: hand-beaded reminders of family around her wrist, the joy of singing in church and a nurse’s kind smile. She spent several months at the Community Women’s Shelter in Cleveland before moving to another temporary residence.

Many women at the shelter struggle with substance addiction or mental illness, or both. The shelter aims to provide the basic necessities of survival — a hot meal and safe place to sleep — and to connect residents with community services to help their other needs.

Through a partnership with Cleveland Clinic, women at the shelter can get professional medical care. Kristin Englund, MD, and her team of nurses and medical residents provide care from two recently renovated exam rooms.

“We’re like an urgent care facility,” says Dr. Englund, an infectious disease specialist. The goals are to keep women out of the emergency room and help them get on a healthy path.

With support from Cleveland Clinic Pharmacy and Laboratory Medicine, the team diagnoses and treats conditions ranging from bronchitis and skin infections to sexually transmitted diseases. The on-site lab helps the team diagnose urinary tract infections and perform pregnancy tests and rapid HIV testing. Instant results are vital for these women. Some, like Hilda, stay for months. But others are on the move, looking for a place to call home.

Cleveland Clinic hospitals are dedicated to the health and well-being of our neighbors. In 2006, we contributed $390 million in community benefits. Read more in Community Connections, our annual report to the community, by visiting