Programs bringing medical care to homeless people living on the streets are increasingly popular in certain cities, reported the Los Angeles Times. Successful initiatives in Pittsburgh and Boston helped launch the trend, the article said. According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, programs operating across the nation serve about 650,000 homeless people a year. Because homeless people often have illnesses that make them resist offers of health care, outreach by “kind, competent professionals” is critically important, the council’s executive director said. Studies have found that some chronic medical conditions are as effectively treated with homeless health-care programs as they are by more established clinics, he said. A Santa Monica, Calif., activist expressed concern that the “street med” program operating in her area was “enabling” homeless people to remain on the streets. But the team says it makes homeless people more comfortable with service providers, potentially increasing their willingness to access other services such as rehab and counseling.