New name, same great service
For over 30 years, Houston Area Community Services and Bering Omega have worked to bring health services to an underserved population of Houston. And in November of 2016, Houston Area Community Services and Bering Omega merged to join forces under the new name Avenue 360 Health & Wellness.
The new name is a representation of a literal avenue—a path one takes to get to their destination. It is a point of access. Together, we guide our patients so they are able to reach better health outcomes and attain a better life. But individual paths are not linear and we provide a full range of services to promote a 360-degree approach to healthcare. No matter what path our patients are on, Avenue 360 is there to support them and give them the care they need.
Avenue 360 Health & Wellness offers a holistic solution for those seeking a medical home. The patient is the center of our model, giving our patients a collaborative choice for their healthcare needs. We care for the whole person, meaning that whether someone needs a diagnosis, a prescription for flu medicine, a stable place to live or a partner in wellness Avenue 360 Health & Wellness is there. Our whole community approach means that everyone is served, from families needing a primary care doctor to those who want to spend their last days in dignity. We represent that “We’re all in this together,” spirit.
We care for the whole person, the whole community and the whole city—we’ve done this for decades and will continue to do so for decades more.
Houston Area Community Services History
Before Avenue 360 Health & Wellness existed, Houston Area Community Services, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization, was established in 1998 to provide affordable, quality medical care, a pharmacy, behavioral health services and living assistance to individuals and families residing in Harris County and the surrounding areas.
In 1997 the Founder and current CEO of Avenue 360 Health & Wellness, Joe Fuentes, realized the need for a health organization that would provide essential and specialty health services to patients living with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS. Although medical services were available for these individuals, many patients suffered from life issues extending far beyond the scope of traditional medical services. Mr. Fuentes saw that patients who found a stable living situation through housing programs were more likely to make their medical visits, take their prescribed medications and attend their behavioral counseling sessions. Quickly, it became apparent that patients who addressed their behavioral health and living environments experienced dramatic improvements in their physical health. They were able to self-manage their health and their lives.
Shortly after launching this model for HIV patients, Mr. Fuentes extended the approach to all eligible residents of Harris County who were faced with the same social determinants that contributed to poor health. Today, Avenue 360 Health & Wellness embodies this same determination and welcoming approach to their patients so that they can enjoy greater success in their personal life, in addition to an improved medical outlook.
Bering Omega Community Services History
The work of Bering Omega Community Services began in 1986 thanks to the tremendous efforts of volunteers from Christ Church Cathedral and Bering Memorial United Methodist Church. The Bering Community Service Foundation and Omega House were established to address the staggering challenges posed by a completely new and frightening epidemic. These agencies were created to provide compassionate care to people living with HIV/AIDS virus and to their loved ones.
In 1986 Eleanor Munger, a retired 76-year-old Montessori school teacher, courageously founded Omega House, a residential hospice, to provide a safe and caring environment for people living through the final stages of HIV/AIDS. Omega House provided a safe haven to terminally ill AIDS patients discharged from the hospital with nowhere to go. With $10,000 in seed money from Christ Church Cathedral, Omega House opened as a four-bed, entirely volunteer-run home for people who could no longer be helped by the traditional medical community, and often had no family or loved ones to care for them in their final days. Omega House was a pioneering effort and Mrs. Munger paved the way by establishing the first residential hospice in Texas.
During this same time Bering Memorial United Methodist Church joined forces to offer a holistic approach to care for those living with HIV/AIDS and formed Bering Omega Community Services. The consolidation of these two well-established and highly respected HIV/AIDS service providers enabled Bering Omega Community Services to offer a wide range of healthcare and social services through a seamless delivery system for indigent, under-served and disenfranchised clients in the greater Houston Area.