REWRITTEN HEADLINE: The Homeless Population is Growing Older and Sicker, Dallas Morning News Opinion Piece, March 7, 2021
Since May of 2020, Watermark Health has worked closely with OurCalling, a non-profit that runs a drop-in resource center for the homeless located just south of downtown. Their mission is to care for the chronically homeless, pointing them to Christ while also offering services to help them get off the streets.
As the pandemic began in spring of 2020, OurCalling and Watermark Health began partnering through a weekly Pop-Up Clinic serving homeless patients on site at OurCalling, aiming to make healthcare more accessible to an at risk community.
This close partnership had a chance to flourish when a catastrophic winter storm hit North Texas in February of 2021, dropping the area into sub-freezing temperatures for a full week and shutting down the power grid throughout the state. OurCalling responded to the crisis by working with the city of Dallas to use the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center to house homeless friends and shelter them from the cold. A few days into the effort, OurCalling contacted Watermark Health to see if they could be on site to help as well.
A team of medical professionals from Watermark Health braved the icy streets to load up the same Pop-Up Clinic materials they had been using in previous months and set up at the convention center for the week. The team served over 60 patients that week, dealing with frostbite, general wounds, and a variety of urgent care needs.
Shortly after the Texas weather thawed, the Mobile Clinic construction was complete and from Spring onward, the Pop-Up Clinic was replaced by the newly minted Mobile Clinic deployed to OurCalling’s drop in center weekly.
Anthony Anderson, Mobile Clinic Director, explains that the partnership with OurCalling has been a point of celebration for Watermark Health.
“Serving the homeless community brings its unique challenges but as a team we’ve enjoyed entering into those difficulties while getting to know the regulars at OurCalling. There are many friends who struggle with homelessness that we’ve built a real relationship with over the past year. When I pause to think about who it is we’re serving and what we’re getting to be a part of, I can’t help but imagine it’s exactly where Jesus would have us be.”
Scripture tells the story of a God who cares for and spends time with those that the world rejected or pushed to the margins. While there are a variety of complexities that drive individuals to chronic homelessness that require thoughtful interventions, much of the right response starts with something straightforward that Jesus modeled time and time again; simply showing up. This newfound partnership with OurCalling has allowed Watermark Health to do just that.