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    Health of the City: LG Health & Lanc Co MyHome’s Mobile Hygiene Unit is Bringing Comfort and Dignity

    Dr. Michael R. Ripchinski, MD, Chief Clinical Officer at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, provides remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony of Refresh Lancaster, Lancaster County’s new mobile hygiene unit.

    Imagine it’s summer. The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, and you’ve spent all day outside when you finally get to come home and experience the relief of a long shower and a clean change of clothes. This is a luxury many people take for granted. But for those without steady housing, it’s a simple comfort that is often out of reach.

     

    That’s why Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, LEMSA, and the Lancaster County Homeless Coalition (Lanc Co MyHome) are addressing this community need with the purchase of a mobile hygiene unit.

     

    For the past 11 years, Lanc Co MyHome has worked to strengthen the network of support services that are essential to eradicating homelessness in Lancaster City and County, partnering with more than 160 organizations, including LG Health.

     

    As a medical partner, LG Health is concerned for the welfare of high-need and under-resourced patients experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. That’s why LG Health partnered with Lanc Co MyHome to provide education, identify care gaps, and improve the service delivery for individuals with medically complex diagnoses—with the ultimate goal of improving the health outcomes and quality of life for the homeless population.

     

    The mobile hygiene unit is a perfect example of how Lanc Co MyHome identified a priority need in the community and used their expertise to work together and address it.

     

    The unit is more than a facility for personal hygiene. It is an endeavor aimed at restoring human dignity to a population that is too often overlooked.

     

    “We’ve heard for a long time that the individuals we serve who live outside really want showers. They don’t have the money to join a gym for access to their facilities, and there aren’t public showers in our community,” said Jennifer L. Koppel, MHA, director, Lanc Co MyHome.

     

    Koppel added: “It’s important to make sure we are using a racial equity lens when we create and deploy services,” citing that 53 percent of the homeless population in Lancaster County are black and brown.

     

    The hygiene trailer, which houses two shower/sink combinations and an office for community care, also offers operational staff and paramedicine services from Lancaster Emergency Medical Services Association (LEMSA) to anyone in need, regardless of insurance, as well as social services, vaccines, wound care, blood pressure checks, and free underwear, socks, and non-perishable snacks. Social service partners will also be available to provide additional support including access bathrooms, laundry, and additional services provided by the agency.

     

    This innovative unit is one piece in making the community a healthier place for everyone.

     

    Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health works to improve overall community health by supporting programs such as Lanc Co MyHome, that have a positive influence on health outcomes, to make this the healthiest community to live, work, play, and learn.

     

    Learn more about Lanc Co MyHome at lanccomyhome.org.