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Street Teams Canvas Neighborhoods To Bring Medical Care To Vulnerable New Yorkers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- People experiencing homelessness don't always get the help they need or seek out medical care. So, the city is bringing it to them.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis recently got a closer look at the initiative helping tens of thousands of New Yorkers.

With backpacks full of medical gear, a team of health care workers hit the streets of Harlem to help vulnerable New Yorkers.

Palak Patel, who is a certified nursing assistant and a social worker with NYC Health + Hospitals, checked on a man outside the 125th Street station.

Patel and the team offer vital services to people in need. They focus on those experiencing homelessness.

"Screening for hypertension, diabetes, wound care, vaccines," Patel said.

Street canvas teams are the newest addition to NYC Health + Hospitals' test and trace initiative called SHOW, which stands for "Street Health Outreach and Wellness."

It's a partnership with the mobile health provider DocGo.

"It's very difficult for this population to get any type of primary care. We want to bridge the gap from them having no care at all to getting them into a primary care safety net clinic," said Shannon O'Shea, operations manager for DocGo.

The program deploys six mobile health units around the city to offer an array of services, from mental health and substance use care to free COVID tests and vaccines.

"The roving team has really been crucial in going out and educating our target population, especially about getting vaccinated," said O'Shea.

Since the program began, nearly 4,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated and over 20,000 tests have been administered.

Once others saw the team give one man his flu shot, they jumped in line for theirs.

"Being that I got the opportunity to do it today, I might as well take care of it," said George Adorno, a Harlem resident.

"Some people can't get out to actually go and get checked out. So I think it's a beautiful thing that you bring it to them," said Hakeem Holder, also from Harlem.

It doesn't stop there. The team also helps connect patients to doctors for continued care.

Since April, the SHOW team has reached more than 60,000 New Yorkers, with the goal to care for many more through its ongoing efforts.

SHOW mobile units are deployed to high-need areas in New York City Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Neighborhoods and areas include Harlem, Penn Station, Port Authority, South Bronx, Chinatown and Washington Heights.

For the most up-to-date information about mobile site locations and scheduling, click here.

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