Medical, dental and mental health services for people experiencing homelessness

Healthcare for the Homeless

Care options at the clinics include primary care, oral healthcare and behavioral healthcare, which includes mental health and substance use treatment. For more information, call our Outreach Specialist at 970.335.2288. People can also call or walk in to our Cortez or Durango clinics. As a Community Health Center, Axis provides a sliding-fee scale for all eligible patients. In the case of HCH patients, this often means no cost for care until insurance or stabilization options have been identified.

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"I found Axis Health to be so informative, knowledgeable. Making the process smooth and easy."

Filling an important community need

People experiencing homelessness in our region face many challenges. Axis Health System’s Healthcare for the Homeless program is a resource that connects people to the healthcare they need – and it starts with building trust. The goal of the Healthcare for the Homeless (HCH) program is to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness get the healthcare they need. Both locations are Community Health Centers that provide whole person care through medical and mental health services. Axis Health System also offers birth control options through the Title X Sexual Health & Family Planning program.

Healthcare and outreach services

HCH staff work with doctors and behavioral health professionals to provide care coordination, insurance enrollment, resource connection, and advocacy for homeless patients in the clinic. The HCH team also meets with people in the homeless community to share information about services and help them solve problems around getting healthcare. Meeting with people in person is important in HCH, because the team can get to know individuals and find creative ways to help them.

Barriers to receiving care

People experiencing homelessness often have many challenges to getting healthcare. They may have trouble meeting their basic needs, such as: food and stable housing, lack of phones and critical documents including IDs, finding safe transportation, or not having insurance or money to pay for care. At the same time, people experiencing homelessness are at a much higher risk for being victims of violence or sexual assault and having chronic medical and behavioral health conditions. Access to healthcare is often very difficult for these families and individuals, with the emergency department used as a stop-gap option.

One-stop shop

It is very important for people experiencing homelessness to have many care options at a single location. Axis Health System’s Community Health Center locations are a one-stop shop approach, which makes it easier to meet healthcare needs all in one place. HCH staff connect with people at many locations in the community, including the Volunteers of America shelter locations, Manna Soup Kitchen and the Durango Public Library. Outreach allows families and individuals experiencing homelessness to learn about the HCH program and build trust with staff, which helps people feel comfortable in making an initial appointment. Within the clinics, HCH staff support both patients and providers by doing care coordination and referrals.

Community resources

  • The Durango Community Shelter is run by Volunteers of America and continues to be the only year-round emergency shelter service for men, women, and children in Southwest Colorado. DCS serves about 500 individuals each year.
  • The Southwest Safehouse in Durango lso part of Volunteers of America, provides shelter to women and children survivors of domestic violence. The Safehouse serves over 200 women and children each year.
  • Manna Soup Kitchen in Durango serves over 60,000 meals per year to people in need. In addition to meals, Manna offers client services, gardening projects, and a culinary arts training program.
  • The Bridge Shelter in Cortez provides a seasonal shelter for adults as well as transitional housing and work opportunities for adults seeking greater independence.
  • The Good Samaritan Center food pantry in Cortez offers emergency food assistance to anyone who needs it. It is their mission to cultivate the dignity and resiliency of our community by ensuring equitable access to healthy food, shared knowledge and a strong local food system.
  • St. Barnabas of the Valley Episcopal Church: Take-out meals are provided Tuesday and Thursday 12 p.m.-1 p.m. and Saturday 12:00-12:30 p.m.

Need Help Now?

Our team can help you while you’re waiting for a scheduled visit. You don’t have to be in crisis. We are here for you day and night. Call the Axis 24/7 Care Line to talk about your mental health concerns. 970.247.5245.  You will be quickly connected to local services and a team will respond immediately. Professional and compassionate care providers will answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.