Reaching Out to Homeless Youth in Loudoun County
Inova Loudoun Hospital is launching a new program, Mobile Hope. This new program was recently developed by Inova Loudoun Hospital’s Mobile Health Unit to support the needs of homeless children in Loudoun County.
As one of the richest counties in the country, it is easy to assume Loudoun does not have homeless youth. Yet recently over 650 young students were identified by Loudoun County Public Schools as homeless or precariously housed. Nearly 40 percent of these young people do not have a guardian or parent in their lives. They sleep in cars, in the woods, in abandoned warehouses or “couch surf” among their friends.
More frightening, there likely are many more homeless children living in Loudoun County – as many as hundreds – who have not yet been identified.
Inova Loudoun Hospital’s Mobile Health Services recently became aware of this harsh reality and is quickly establishing partnerships with the Loudoun County Public Schools, churches, police, government officials, health officials and community leaders to create ways for these children to receive essentials including:
- Hygiene products
- School supplies
- Medical care
The youth that are being helped don’t need to worry because:
- Being homeless is not illegal and nothing to be ashamed of.
- Being homeless is not always a Child Protective Services call.
- Students can get free breakfast and lunch.
- Students can get free transportation to and from school.
- Students will not be transferred from their current school.
- Confidentiality will be met, unless staff feels that the individual is in danger or being abused.
“Inova Loudoun Hospital is committed to successfully partnering with others to meet the basic needs of homeless children in our community. Our hope is that we’ll make a difference in their lives,” said Donna Fortier, community affairs executive & director of Mobile Health Services.
The Inova Mobile Health Unit has been providing health care services in the county for over 10 years, traveling throughout Loudoun providing services to a number of clients from large corporations to those in need. This Mobile Health Unit is one solution to delivering needed items to these children. Inova is especially concerned with providing preventative care to this population, including vaccines, general physicals and other screenings.