Fight over healthcare for Portland's homeless

5:42 PM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The City of Portland is challenging a federal grant awarded to a nonprofit community health center.

The city applied for that grant without competition for more than two decades, to operate its Healthcare for the Homeless clinic. But this year, Portland Community Health applied, after the city's application was rejected in the first round due to a clerical error. The city fixed the error and re-applied, but Portland Community Health won the grant. Portland Community Health has an agreement with the city not to compete for the same grants. But Portland Community Health CEO Leslie Clark Brancato says her board applied to ensure that money stayed in Portland.

"Our concern was really just about making sure that the funds weren't lost, and that every person, homeless people, every person who is a vulnerable population has access to quality healthcare" Brancato said.

Mark Swann says Preble Street discouraged Portland Community Health from applying for the grant.

I think the city's clinic has built up a lot of expertise around that, and I'm not sure Community Health Center has that expertise, has the staffing for that, and clearly doesn't have the experience working with that population" Swann said.

The 680 thousand dollar grant makes up a critical piece of the city clinic's 1.8 million dollar budget. Mayor Michael Brennan says the city will determine if the clinic will be able to provide services without that funding.













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