A new set of wheels are hitting the streets of New York City this week, as a bright-colored van looks to expand health care services to more individuals.
Earlier today, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams alongside Planned Parenthood of New York City unveiled its new, state-of-the-art Keith Haring Foundation – Project Street Beat Mobile Health Center in a ribbon cutting ceremony near City Hall.
“Providers of vital reproductive health services need to have the ability to reach patients across New York City, especially in underserved communities. I was proud to help fund the creation of this Mobile Health Center though Project Street Beat, in order to bring healthcare to people where they are, where services often don’t reach,” said Williams.
This new vehicle’s expanded space and features, including two sound-proof counseling rooms, a wheelchair lift, and an expandable awning, will allow Project Street Beat to reach more people in more communities.
For 30 years, Project Street Beat has provided confidential, nonjudgmental health care to New Yorkers right on the street, to meet them where they are. The program uses an innovative, targeted approach to outreach during day and night shifts, concentrating on the places where people hang out.
“We are so proud to have this state-of-the-art mobile health center, which will allow us to better support our patients. We know many New Yorkers, especially LGBTQ communities, communities of color, and marginalized New Yorkers such as those experiencing homelessness, lack access,” said said Laura McQuade, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of New York City.
The program’s Mobile Health Center travels throughout Upper Manhattan, Central Brooklyn, the South Bronx, delivering a wide variety of care from HIV testing and counseling and STI testing and treatment to overdose prevention counseling, health insurance enrollment, gynecological care, and more.
The new mobile center is covered in the iconic artwork of Keith Haring, who himself was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 before dying at the age of 31 from complications related to the autoimmune disease in 1990.
“By placing Haring’s ebullient imagery on PSB’s mobile health center, we have created a partnership that honors both PPNYC and Keith Haring – while creating a safe and inviting space to all who seek support for sexual health, care, and guidance,” said Julia Gruen, Executive Director, Keith Haring Foundation.
Before his death, Haring established the Keith Haring Foundation with the aim of providing funding and imagery to AIDS organizations and children’s programs, and to expand the audience for Haring’s work through exhibitions, publications and the licensing of his images.
“Today’s launch is the first stop for a center that will bring a wide variety of care to those who need it, no matter their neighborhood,” added Williams.