Medical & Psychiatric Care
All Medical and Psychiatric Services operate out of the Friendship Place Welcome Center
4713 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
For more information, call 202-364-1419
Background on Our Services
Living on the streets can age someone 10 years in just one year, yet many homeless people won’t seek medical care if they have to go through a lot of red tape to get it. At Friendship Place, there’s no red tape, no appointment needed. Consumers can walk in off the street and see the doctor or nurse on a walk-in basis.
Through Unity Health Care, Dr. Amy Kossoff has been staffing the Friendship Place medical clinic for the past 10 years. She understands that living on the streets is hard on the body and the mind, and she treats every patient with respect and dignity. In the words of one patient, “She is a wonderful lady, the politest, kindest person I have ever met.” Another says, “Instead of just telling you what she thinks, she allows you to share, and then she helps you. She does it in a manner that doesn’t take away your humanity.”
If one of her patients needs to see a specialist, Dr. Kossoff taps her network of health care colleagues to find someone who will provide pro bono care. When a patient is admitted to the hospital, Amy is often the first person they see in the morning and the last person they see in the evening.
Our medical clinic provides about 700 consultations a year to men and women whose illnesses might otherwise go untreated.
Mental Health Care
Friendship Place is the only place in upper northwest D.C. where homeless men and women can receive free psychiatric care. Our philosophy is to remove barriers to the care that our homeless neighbors so desperately need. Consequently, our psychiatric services are unusually accessible:
• We offer “one-stop shopping.” Consumers can see the psychiatrist at our Welcome Center — the same location where they can have a cup of coffee, pick up their mail, do their laundry, or talk to a case manager. This allows us to build trust over time with people who may initially resist seeing the psychiatrist. If we had to refer people to a large, impersonal mental health agency across town, they would likely never seek the help they need.
• We offer people same-day appointments. The average wait for an uninsured homeless person to see a psychiatrist elsewhere in the District is up to eight weeks — another serious barrier to urgently needed treatment.
• We offer people the opportunity to see the psychiatrist “no questions asked.” We require no proof of identity, no insurance, no social security number. This allows us to serve people who would be turned down elsewhere and allows the psychiatrist to build trust over time with people who may not initially wish to reveal their identity.
For homeless individuals with mental health issues, psychiatric care is the foundation of recovery. Receiving treatment can turn their lives around completely.
The District of Columbia does not reimburse psychiatric services for the uninsured. Friendship Place raises 100 percent of the funding for the operation of our mental health clinic from private sources.
Our mental health clinic provides about 200 consultations a year.