May 28, 2012 10:52 AM

Tucson's homeless getting help from the library nurse

Years of drugs and living on the streets led Vietnam Veteran David Caldwell to become homeless.

On and off drugs, Caldwell developed type-two diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. Finding care for his symptoms has been difficult, until he started going to the public library where he met registered nurse Emily Pogue.

Pogue makes daily rounds at Pima County's libraries touching base with the hundreds of homeless and low income people that come in every month. She can't offer them any medication but she often gives them recommendations on places they can go for low cost or free treatment.

She also carries basic items that make living on the streets a little easier such as washcloths and crackers but beyond the basics she says she provides a much more important service.

"It's very, very important that folks know they are valued, they are worthy, and they are cared about," said Pogue.

Emily saw over 700 patients in April. She was originally hired to reduce the number of 911 calls to the library but it has developed into something more as she continues to build relationships with Tucsonans most in need.

She hopes that her position will be a model for the rest of the country.


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