Boston Mountain Rural Health joins effort to address homelessness

Boston Mountain Rural Health partnered with the city of Harrison, Ark., and its special committee on homelessness to address concerns in the city, according to an Aug. 23 report from KSRP.

According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Arkansas has about 2,360 individuals experiencing homelessness on any given day. The number does not include the 13,910 homeless students in the state who are unsheltered, living in shelters or temporary housing. 

Non-profit organizations have been vital in helping define the problem and articulate solutions. Blue Mountain Rural Health's contributions have been headed by Dawn Phelps, MD, a practicing physician in Harrison, who said that homelessness is often compounded by mental health issues and substance issues. 

"I think everybody should have that kind of help and have their needs met. People should be able to have a home, healthcare, well-being and have their needs addressed," said Dr. Phelps. 

Harrison Mayor Jerry Jackson formed the special committee in January to find solutions to an increase in the city's homeless population.

"We've learned a lot in this process, primarily that our homelessness issue is a mental health issue. We’re working to address that with the help of organizations. But on top of that, we've seen a steady decline in our homelessness population here in recent months," Mr. Jackson said. 

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