Collaborators in Care at Community First! Village

At the Topfer Family Health Center, Integral Care and CommUnityCare Clinic work together to provide behavioral and primary health care for more than 200 residents of Community First! Village, a permanent supportive housing community. Check out our blog to learn more about our collaboration and the future of integrated care at Community First! Village.

As Mobile Loaves & Fishes expanded from delivering food to individuals experiencing homelessness to creating a permanent supportive housing community at Community First! Village, the organization was guided by one foundational principle: housing will never solve homelessness, but community will. Community First! Village is home to more than 200 individuals who formerly experienced chronic homelessness. In addition to housing, these residents have access to gardens, an art studio, an outdoor movie theater, an onsite medical facility, and various other resources to build their health and well-being. This innovative residential program is supported by a wide variety of nonprofits, businesses, volunteers, and community members, all of whom are helping to build community onsite.  

“The organizations providing services here are brought together by shared love for our neighbors,” said Amber Fogarty, President and Chief Goodness Officer of Mobile Loaves & Fishes. For Fogarty, developing strong partnerships was key to providing residents with the services and resources they need. “We know our neighbors well, but we aren’t experts in everything that they need. We have amazing organizations in our community that already do those things.” When they were living on the streets, these individuals often could not access one crucial resource: health care. 

Amber Fogarty, President & Chief Goodness Officer, Mobile Loaves and Fishes

According to Fogarty, offering onsite health care was a priority from the community’s inception, as many individuals experiencing homelessness also have significant medical and mental health needs. “We want to provide the best care possible for our neighbors,” she said, which includes ensuring access to behavioral health and primary health care in one convenient, easily accessible location.  To meet this need, Community First! Village partnered with Integral Care and CommUnityCare to deliver behavioral and primary health care at the Topfer Family Health Resource Center, an onsite medical facility.  Integral Care has an onsite team of mental health professionals available five days a week.  CommUnityCare’s mobile team is available onsite twice a week to work hand in hand with the Integral Care team in addressing medical and mental health care issues. The same staff members are available each week to ensure continuity of care for residents.

Jaeson Fournier, Chief Executive Officer of CommUnityCare, stressed the importance of this collaborative work. While the two organizations currently co-locate and work in coordination, he believes that there is an opportunity to advance integrated care at Community First! Village. “We have been working to develop a model of care with a much greater level of integration,” Fournier said. “We are distinct entities, but that should mostly be behind the scenes. To a patient, we should really be serving as one team.” For a population with high-intensity needs, such as the residents of Community First! Village, fully integrated care is critical. Over the next few years, Mobile Loaves & Fishes will expand Community First! Village to provide additional housing and resources for individuals transitioning out of homelessness. During Phase II of development, the organization will also open a new onsite clinic that will increase its current healthcare offerings. At this new, 10,000 square foot facility, Integral Care and CommUnityCare will partner to deliver fully integrated care not only to residents, but they will also provide services to the surrounding neighborhood.