Seattle unveils new medical van to serve homeless community

Jul 6, 2016, 3:21 PM
safe injection van, king county, seattle, homeless, homelessness...
King County has operated a mobile medical van for the area's homeless population for years. Seattle added a second second van in 2016. (King County)
(King County)

While the City of Seattle continues to urge homeless individuals to seek treatment options, it now has a tool to bring those services to those people in need.

King County and city officials including Mayor Ed Murray introduced a new mobile medical RV Wednesday. The medical mobile will move about the city offering a variety of services and treatments — for free — to the homeless population.

“This medical van in Seattle, connecting homeless to health services, is one of many solutions,” Murray said at a conference outside of St. John’s Lutheran Church in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood.

The Seattle PI reports that the van will operate four days a week, driving between churches and food banks. It will frequent tent cities, tiny-house villages and other areas where homeless people congregate. It comes complete with a waiting room, exam room and nurses station. Staff includes a doctor, nurse and two social workers — with specialties in addiction and behavioral health.

That all comes with a $350,000 price tag just to get the van up and running. Those funds come from the federal government. Operating the vehicle will cost $610,000 annually — with $500,000 coming from Seattle and $110,000 from King County, the PI reports.

This is the second such van in King County. The county has operated another medical vehicle around the region for a few years.

MyNorthwest reporter Dyer Oxley contributed to this article.

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Seattle unveils new medical van to serve homeless community