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ARCH now certified to administer COVID-19 rapid tests and vaccines

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 2:15 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Those starting a new chapter in their lives while attempting to overcome homelessness, addiction, or crisis now have a safe place to go for shelter, COVID testing, and vaccinations, all in one place.

ARCH’s registered nurse, Melissa Miller, is now certified to complete onsite rapid COVID-19 testing and administer COVID-19 vaccines for clients, eliminating barriers to vaccination for a particularly vulnerable population.

“Misinformation is huge in the recovery community and in the homeless community. We want to give them information from someone they trust and that they’ve built a relationship with, so they get the most information and can make an educated choice for themselves and those around them,” says Miller, who has been working with ARCH since August.

After just a few months on the job, Miller says she initiated the project and designed the new client program with hopes to expand onsite services to eventually include all types of vaccinations and TB testing.

“A lot of our clients just don’t trust medical professionals, and they get their information from the streets and the people that they encounter, so they don’t always know the benefits and the risks of the vaccine,” explains Miller.

ARCH’s Development Director, Rachel Geary, says the guests staying in their housing programs frequently change.

Trust House, the 29-bed homeless shelter, has 15 beds dedicated to homeless veterans. Bethany Hall is a 12-bed substance abuse in-patient treatment facility for women.

“We have people come into Trust House, they get their voucher, they move out, so we serve about 250 people across all of our programs per year,” explains Geary. Upon intake, each client must be tested for COVID-19, which is why having rapid testing onsite is so essential. “As they’re interacting with other clients or staff, we need to make sure almost immediately that they aren’t bringing the virus in upon arrival.”

“Our mission is to provide safe supportive recovery and opportunities for self-sufficiency after crisis to the most vulnerable citizens in the Roanoke Valley. We really feel like this initiative falls directly in line with that mission,” adds Geary.

For more information about ARCH Services, click here.

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