On Friday, November 20, 2020, Saint Columbkille hosts a Spirit Day to raise money for the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP). Run by Saint Columbkille father Dr. James O’Connell, BHCHP has been helping provide the homeless with quality health care. The organization works in 45 locations around Boston, including shelters, soup kitchens and detox centers.
With more than 500 workers, the organization employs 25 doctors, 40 nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and 70-80 nurses. Serving more than 12,000 homeless men, women and children each year, BHCHP provides a variety of services. They include: medical and nursing care, pediatric care and family services, dental care, medical respite care, mental health and substance abuse services, and HIV testing and treatment.
BHCHP was started in 1985 and remains true to their mission of reaching out to help those who are less fortunate and are subsisting on the fringes of society. The health care that is provided to the most vulnerable members of our city is critical in the fight to end homelessness.
BHCHP President Dr. James O’Connell says, “in our work, our mission is to reach out to those who have been excluded because of poverty, racism, injustices, etc. We are so impressed that Saint Cols is trying to address these issues and teach students about them, even at a young age. It’s a school that shares the same values that we do: reaching out to take care of others.”
Dr. O’Connell published a book in 2015 entitled “Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor,” which is a collection of stories and essays, written during thirty years of caring for homeless persons in Boston, and gently illuminates the humanity and raw courage of those who struggle to survive and find meaning and hope while living on the streets.