Clients at the downtown Tacoma Rescue Mission were offered something in addition to a meal Monday night a flu shot and a basic health screening.
South Sound Medical Clinic took 100 doses to the mission at 425 South Tacoma Way, and distributed about 45 of the shots from 5 to 7 p.m. Volunteers also planned to take blood pressure and temperatures as needed.
Bringing flu shots to the homeless as opposed to having patients travel to a clinic is a new idea in the county, clinic president Daniel Peluso said.
Its easier to go to them, where theyre going to be having meals provided to them, Peluso said. To have a captured audience, I guess you could say.
The doses went to people in the missions drug and alcohol addiction recovery program, people in a work-therapy program and the general shelter population.
The clinic hopes to distribute flu shots annually.
It also will offer about 150 doses from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 23 at The Salvation Army shelter on Sixth Avenue.
We see theres a void that needs to be addressed, and somebody needs to lead the way, Peluso said. Theres a gaping hole in the safety net out there that needs to be mended.
About 75 percent of Pierce Countys homeless population lives in Tacoma, said Valerie Pettit of Project Homeless Connect of Pierce County.
That program usually provides basic services to the homeless at the Tacoma Dome each year.
But starting this year, project officials plan to hold four events at different locations to better reach people in the outlying areas of the county.
The event started in 2007 with about 500 attendees, and expanded to about 1,500 by 2011, Pettit said.
The first event this year is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Tacomas Stewart Middle School, 5010 Pacific Ave.
In addition to medical clinics, there will be haircuts, tax help, chemical dependency counseling, housing information and veterans benefit assistance provided, among other services.
The program expects between 1,000 and 1,500 attendees at that event, and about 500 at three others in outlying areas of the county next year.
The Lakewood-Spanaway-Parkland area will have an event in January, the Puyallup-Sumner area will have one in May, and the Eatonville region will be visited by the program in July or August, Pettit said.
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268