Meet LifeLong Medical Care’s First Homeless Services Director
Blog contribution by LifeLong Medical Care
Responding to the overwhelming numbers of unhoused people in Alameda County, LifeLong Medical Care has named its first Homeless Services Director. Ryan Wythe will leave his position as Street Medicine Manager to lead LifeLong’s homeless services.
I feel really fortunate that LifeLong wants to support homeless services such that it is willing to dedicate a department for it – Ryan
“The crisis of homelessness has grown larger than it’s ever been, with people dying from overdoses on the streets and early deaths from chronic health conditions that go untreated – plus the trauma of having to live on the streets,” says LifeLong Chief of Integrated Services Brenda Goldstein, who announced Ryan’s appointment.
“In response to that, LifeLong’s services that are developed specifically for people experiencing homelessness have grown significantly in the last five to 10 years. Now we have almost an entire system of care under the LifeLong umbrella,” Brenda says. And that calls for a director to oversee it all.
“Ryan has a tremendous passion and commitment to creating compassionate services for marginalized communities, a deep understanding of trauma-informed care and harm reduction, and a nimble and creative approach to addressing emerging needs,” she adds.
Ryan came to LifeLong two years ago as the first Street Medicine Manager and has led the work of the five street medicine teams serving Albany, Berkeley, West Oakland, downtown Oakland, and Emeryville. Brenda noted that Ryan has created a highly effective program that has been recognized at the city, county, and state level.
“I feel really fortunate that LifeLong wants to support homeless services such that it is willing to dedicate a department for it,” says Ryan. “It really shows that it’s a priority, that it recognizes that serving people experiencing homelessness is an integral part of its mission.”
Ryan came to LifeLong two years ago after dedicating much of his career to harm reduction services for people who use drugs and have other behavioral health needs. For seven years he was president of the board of directors for NEED, Berkeley’s Needle Exchange Emergency Distribution program.
“That made a really big impact on me, and I wondered why FQHCs weren’t doing this work because they have the most reach to the people who are the most vulnerable. And I feel that coming into Street Medicine and being here at LifeLong that things have come full circle,” Ryan says.
LifeLong’s homeless services have grown considerably over the years, now encompassing Supportive Housing, Street Medicine, Street Outreach, the Our Place Drop-In Center, Medical Respite, and the Trust Clinic.
Watch this video about LifeLong’s Street Medicine work
As Homeless Services Director, Ryan will be providing leadership to bring these programs together in a more cohesive, coordinated, effective and efficient way, furthering our vision of LifeLong as a leader in the intersection of health and housing.
There will be a transition period as Ryan takes on this new role. While continuing to manage Street Medicine, he will initially focus on supporting the Supportive Housing program, which has been without a director for a year, and homeless outreach efforts. Ryan will work collaboratively with the Trust Clinic, which will continue to operate under the Clinical Operations umbrella.
Learn more about LifeLong Medical Care HERE.