A donated vehicle and new staff will help Salvus Clinic bring health-care services to some of the most vulnerable residents of Moncton, Dieppe and Riverview.
"We can go meet people where they're actually staying," France Maillet-Gagnon, a nurse practitioner, told reporters at a news conference where the vehicle was unveiled.
"Sometimes we still have many people we're not reaching."
Maillet-Gagnon said they can take the van to homeless tent sites, homeless shelters and to people who may not have been coming to the clinic's downtown location.
It will offer a variety of services, including primary care, mental health treatment and support, vaccinations, sexual health testing, pregnancy testing, contraception and prenatal care.
The van, which cost about $225,000, was purchased with donations from the Medavie Health Foundation, Saint John Human Development Council as well as private donations from physicians and other donors.
Salvus will use more than $663,000 in federal funding to hire a registered nurse, social worker, two peer health navigators and an administrative support worker, bringing its staff to 26. The registered nurse has already been hired.
Maillet-Gagnon said they will start with shelter visits and then expand to visiting other areas once staff are hired.
However, the funding is only for 18 months.
Melissa Baxter, the clinic's executive director, said they hope to secure long-term funding from government and other funding sources by showing the value of the service over those 18 months.
The funding and van were announced at a news conference in Moncton's Oak Lane, near the clinic's Church Street location.
It was part of $40 million in spending the federal government announced for various projects across the country related to substance use and reducing overdoses.