Torched mobile health van that serves homeless in San Jose gets lifesaving cash transfusion

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A mobile health van that serves thousands of the homeless population in the San Jose area was torched by a vandal as it was parked overnight in February.

Insurance covered only $100,000 of the $250,000 cost to build a new one and replace the medical equipment inside. On Friday, the nonprofit group Gardner Health, which operates the service, announced that members of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group have made up the difference. This means 2,755 people served yearly will once again get weekly mobile visits at 10 sites near where they live.

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Since February, service was reduced to every other week with the use of an older, backup van. The new van is under construction in Southern California and should be outfitted and ready to hit the streets in late fall. The mobile van staff is trying to reach out to those who otherwise would go untreated and face more advanced health issues, including those who are undocumented who might be afraid to seek health care.

About $150,000 was raised in just 10 days after Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino put out the word. Companies that made contributions include Netgear, Nanometrics, IDT, Western Digital, Aart de Geus of Synopsis, Bank of America and Symantec. KLA Tencor Foundation and Alliance Credit Union quickly joined in, along with many others.

The mobile van is a rolling clinic that can take vitals, such as blood pressure and temperature, and treat a wide range of conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, drug addiction, hypertension, minor wound care, coughs, colds and flu.

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