Homeless outreach program expands medical staff


CAMDEN — Project H.O.P.E. (Homeless Outreach Program Enrichment) provides healthcare services to the homeless population in Camden County.

In 2010, Project H.O.P.E. had a total of 5,364 medical visits for 1,773 unduplicated homeless patients. In order to meet the growing needs of their patients, Project H.O.P.E. has recently added two new providers to its staff.

Dr. Alishia Saunders-Richie has been the medical director of Project H.O.P.E. since February of 2010. She divides her time by providing direct clinical care to patients and to attending to the administrative tasks of the clinic.

Dr.. Lynda Bascelli is a family practitioner who joined the staff in February and brings to the clinic her 14 years of practice in the medical field.

Speaking about the growing clinical team at Project H.O.P.E., director Patricia DeShields said, “We are really excited to have Dr. Lynda Bascelli and Dr. Alishia Richie join our homeless health care team. Project H.O.P.E.’s most compelling feature has always been the talented and skilled professional staff who care about each and every person served. Dr Lynda Bascelli and Dr. Alishia Richie will strengthen our team with their commitment to quality of life and knowledge of best practices.”

Project H.O.P.E. began in 1993 as an outreach project, with volunteers from the Lourdes Health System handing out sandwiches and providing health care on the streets of Camden.

Under the Lourdes System, Project H.O.P.E. expanded to become a full time medical provider for the homeless located at the Bergen Lanning Health Center in Camden City.

In 2008, Project H.O.P.E. began the transition into an independent non-profit.

Project H.O.P.E. currently operates a full time health center providing comprehensive primary health care serving patients at three locations: its main site, Bergen Lanning Health Center, a satellite center at the Camden City Volunteers of America site, and through its Mobile Health Van which takes health care, mental health and substance abuse services to the streets and points where homeless people gather in Camden.