Special & Vulnerable Populations

Health centers are community-based, patient organizations that deliver comprehensive, culturally competent, high-quality primary health care services. Health centers deliver care to the nation’s most vulnerable individuals and families, including people experiencing homelessness, agricultural workers, residents of public housing, and the nation’s veterans. In some case health centers receive funding to specifically target “special populations."

These populations were designated under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. 

  • Section 330(g): Migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their families
  • Section 330(h): Individuals/person experiencing homelessness
  • Section 330(i): Residents of public housing

Health Care for Migrant and Seasonal Workers

Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers (MSAW) are a vital part of the U.S. agricultural economy. Many workers travel throughout the country following the harvest of different crops. It is difficult for MSAW to access affordable, culturally appropriate health care. The Bureau Primary Health Care (BPHC) provides specific funding for health centers who specifically target the unique health care needs of MSAW and their families.

Resources for Health Center caring for MSAW Populations

Farmworker Health Network

There are five National Training and Technical Assistance Cooperative Agreements funded by HRSA and, collectively they form the Farmworker Health Network (FHN). The FHN meets regularly to collaborate on the provision of training and technical assistance, assessment of needs, the analysis of trends and challenges and the generation of health care solutions through recommendations to HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care.

The FHN consists of the following:

National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc.
Phone (512) 312-5451
The National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH) is a private non-profit corporation, established in 1975, located in Buda, Texas. NCFH provides information services, technical assistance, and training to more than 500 private and federally funded migrant health centers as well as other organizations and individuals serving the farmworker population.

Migrant Clinicians Network
Phone (512) 327-2017
Migrant Clinicians Network is a nonprofit organization that creates practical solutions at the intersection of poverty, migration and health. MCN provides bridge case management, support, technical assistance and professional development to clinicians in Federally Qualified Health Centers and other health care delivery sites with the ultimate purpose of providing quality health care that increases access and reduces disparities for migrant farmworkers and other mobile underserved populations.

Farmworker Justice
Phone (202) 293-5420
Farmworker Justice is a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice. Farmworker Justice works with farmworkers and their organizations throughout the nation.

Health Outreach Partners
Phone (510) 268-0091
Health Outreach Partners’ mission is to build strong, effective, and sustainable grassroots health models by partnering with local community-based organizations across the country in order to improve the quality of life of low-income, vulnerable, and underserved populations.

HP Salud
Phone 956-968-3600
MHP Salud builds on community strengths to improve health in underserved communities. MHP Salud programs provide peer health education, increase access to health resources and bring community members together with health providers, employers and policymakers to create positive changes.

Healthcare for the Homeless Programs

In addition to receiving grant support from the Community Health Center (CHC) program, some may receive grants under the Federal Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) Program to target care to homeless people. The Health Care for the Homeless program is a major source of care for homeless persons in the United States, serving patients who live on the street, in shelters, or in transitional housing. It reaches out to homeless individuals and families and provides primary care as well as substance abuse and mental health services. Emphasis is placed on coordinating efforts with other community health providers and social service agencies.

Resources for Health Centers Serving Homeless Populations

National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC)
NHCHC works to eliminate homelessness by providing comprehensive T/TA to health centers and look-alikes using over 25 years of experience working with communities to improve delivery of health care for people experiencing homelessness.

CSH – Corporation for Supportive Housing
Supportive housing experts. Supportive services for homeless patients who are frequent users of ERs and connects homeless people to sustainable housing with wrap-around services. Key providers of technical assistance where housing and health intersect.

Health Care for Residents of Public Health

Some Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) receive grant support designated for the Federal Public Housing Primary Care (PHPC) program, a special population designation.

The Public Housing Primary Care (PHPC) Program is a federal grant program created under the Disadvantaged Minority Health Improvement Act of 1990, which amended the Public Health Service Act to include Section 340A. The PHPC Program was reauthorized under the Health Centers Consolidation Act of 1996 as Section 330(i) of the Public Health Service Act.

Resources for Health Centers Serving Residents of Public Housing:

National Center for Health in Public Housing (NCHPH) 
Builds relationships at the health center level. Strength is in front line operationalizing of effective public housing-based primary care programs in health centers