Two stories below the city sidewalk, beneath the busy intersection at Broad and Arch street, lies Philadelphia’s only COVID-19 vaccination clinic geared specifically toward homeless residents.
Hub of Hope recently opened a vaccination clinic after obtaining doses from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The crisis drop-in center generally offers acute medical services, the chance to speak with a doctor or a site to wash a load of laundry.
“I didn’t even know I was qualified, but I was told to come down here and I got an appointment right away,” says Tatianna Muhammed, a 26-year-old Philadelphian who regularly utilizes Project HOME’s Honickman Learning Center located in the city’s Cecil B. Moore section.
Muhammed is now one of the more than 100 people who have been vaccinated at Project HOME’s Hub of Hope. The vaccination clinic opened last month in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and will provide shots for all center participants as they fall under the city’s “1b” category.
“I have family who I can reach out to, but it’s COVID,” Muhammed said. “People don’t want you staying with them and going in and out of their house. Especially if you’re not vaccinated.”
According the Department of Public Health’s population eligibility schedule, Phase 1b consists of individuals living or working in a congregate setting. This includes shelters, group homes, transitional living facilities and people experiencing homelessness.
“Health care services at [Hub of Hope] now has the capacity to kind of bridge that gap between our most vulnerable population and their ability to access the vaccine,” said Edel Howlin, media and external relations officer at Project HOME. “While it’s great that the city is offering the shot, its current registration method excludes those who don’t have regular access to a phone or email.”
Vaccinations at the medical clinic are exclusively for those that are homeless, housing insecure, or living in a congregate setting. Howlin emphasizes that services provided at Hub of Hope expand beyond COVID-19 vaccinations.
“We also want people to know that Hub of Hope isn’t just a clinic,” Howlin says. “We want to provide a sense of community. Our volunteers provide care packages, resource referrals, and snacks. We always have food!”
Hub of Hope’s medical clinic is open Monday through Friday and accepts walk-ins only.