CHICAGO (WLS) — A North Side health clinic is offering care specifically for new arrivals amid the Chicago migrant crisis.
Near North Health centers have served Chicagoans and new arrivals to the city for nearly 60 years.
The current migrant crisis has their number of patients sometimes doubling, especially those near police stations and shelters like the center near Kostner Avenue and North Avenue.
To address the need at this location the staff is offering care and support services specifically to new arrivals.
“We have had days when we have had 50, 60, 70 migrant individuals coming into our centers,” said Near North Health Interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Dan Vincencio. “So we are doing our best to accommodate them.”
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Dr. Vicencio said helping families now can prevent more complicated outcomes later.
“We are there to make sure they don’t sink, they are not sinking any deeper than they already are, and give them some capacity to flourish in what ever situation they will find themselves in,” Dr. Vicencio said.
Linda Lista arrived in Chicago 21 days ago with her children and husband after traveling from Venezuela. She explained that healthcare in Venezuela was limited.
Lista said she needed to know if her children were okay, especially her 4-year-old who is underweight. She said this was important and she was grateful to be seen.
Yolanda Peña brought many of the patients at the center today with her organization, Life Impacters Foundation, which has helped hundreds of new arrivals so far.
“We have had a lot of them with health issues,” Peña said. “They are staying outside it’s getting cold they are not used to the cold so there’s a lot of them getting sick.
Near North is eager to hire more bi-lingual staff to help with this new wave of patients. In the meantime, they are helping current staff get bi-lingual certification.
Even after Monday’s clinic for migrants, they expect to receive more patients. The centers offer services regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.