Sparrow Hospital and Volunteers of America Michigan broke ground Monday on a new, $800,000 facility that will provide healthcare for 3,400 homeless and uninsured patients.
"It's really going to change lives, that's the bottom line," said Joe Ruth, Sparrow Hospital's Chief Operating Officer. "The folks that reside here are trying to put their lives back together and one of the missing pieces typically is their health and to be able to provide on-site medical care is going to make a huge difference in their lives of these people and of this community."
The clinic has been five years in the making. Kevin McGraw, board chair at the Lansing VOA says he was convinced to bring it to Michigan's capital after a trip to South Bend, Ind.
"We have a lot of clients that don't seek wellness because they can't just walk to a hospital or an urgent care and get a cut treated on their hand," he said. "They wait until it festers and they wait until it's a problem. Having this here, we're able to monitor them both physically and mentally and if you can monitor somebody that way and maintain their health, you stand a much better chance of getting them back on their feet. And that's the whole nine yards. That's what we're trying to do."
McGraw says the Lansing location and the South Bend location will be the only two in the country. He hopes the Lansing clinic can save the city millions as it did in South Bend.
The clinic could also help alleviate pressure at emergency rooms, giving the homeless a place to receive regular attention while allowing the ER to be used for emergencies.
Around half of the project is financed by Sparrow. The remainder comes from a federal grant.