Special Populations

Special Populations

Health centers not only provide care for the uninsured and under-insured, but special populations as well. Special populations include the homeless, farm workers, residents of public housing, veterans, LGBT individuals, and others. Our goal is to ensure that these various groups receive the best care possible.

To work toward this goal, we provide health centers with information and assistance regarding these special needs populations. This is especially important to those FQHCs seeking funding to serve special populations, specifically those looking to establish a Migrant Health Center, a Public Housing Primary Care Health Center, or a Health Care for the Homeless Program. This information may also assist Community Health Centers who regularly serve other vulnerable populations, including veterans, LGBT individuals, older adults, and school-aged children.

Another way we provide assistance is by establishing and maintaining relationships with state and national organizations representing these patients. Such partnerships have enabled us to participate in nationally broadcasted webinars on care for special populations and support related educational seminars and trainings throughout the state.

Meeting the Needs of Louisiana's Special Populations

Healthcare for the Homeless

There are many causes of homelessness, including job loss and underemployment, foreclosure, domestic violence, mental illness, and substance abuse. FQHCs are a major source of care for homeless persons living in Louisiana. In 2016 alone, Louisiana health centers served over 22,600 homeless individuals (just under 6% of the overall patientpopulation).

In addition to receiving grant support from the Community Health Center program, some FQHCs may receive grants under the federal Health Care for the Homeless Program to specifically focus resources on homeless people. Some FQHCs only receive Federal HCH grant support.

Public Housing

Historically, residents of public housing are more likely to be in poor health when compared to other populations and typically have less access to important preventive treatment and primary care. Public Housing Primary Care health centers collaborate with public housing authorities to address the health needs of all residents. Such services include primary, dental, and behavioral health in addition to pharmacy, optometry, podiatry, and nutritional services through the WIC program.

Migrant Farm Workers

Farm workers play a vital role in our nation as they provide the labor that produces the food we eat. They are especially important for Louisiana's agricultural economy. Given the nature of their work and the fact that many farm workers do not have a permanent residence, they face a unique set of challenges when it comes to maintaining their health.

The Migrant Health Center Program provides support to health centers that provide comprehensive, high quality, culturally-competent preventive and primary health services to migrant and season farm workers and their families. These health centers focus specifically on the occupational health and safety needs of this population.


The men and women who have served our country through military service deserve accessible, high quality primary care services. FQHCs throughout the country have made a special commitment to serve this special population. Using special payment arrangements that provide compensation for veterans' care, health centers allow veterans to receive care close to home and avoid long, expensive trips to the nearest VA facility. In 2017, Louisiana health centers served over 3,200 veterans.

LGBT Individuals

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender individuals have been identified by HRSA as a special population that requires unique attention and treatment by health centers.

HRSA has made significant efforts to educate FQHCs on the specific health needs of LGBT individuals. The National LGBT Health Education Center provides educational programs, resources, and consultation to health care organizations with the goal of optimizing quality, cost-effective health care for LGBT people.