In a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Willowbrook unveiled its new Recuperative Care Center.
The center's aim is to provide medical attention and mental health services for homeless individuals in between needing a bed in a hospital and being well enough to medically release.
The 100-bed facility, which served its first client on January 19, offers DHS patients access to around-the-clock nursing assistance; interim housing in which to recover, sleep, bathe, groom, and dress; and mental health and substance abuse services.
"The people here are warm. They welcome you in with open arms," said care center patient James Tyiska, who expressed his appreciation for the facility's nursing staff. "If we have to cry, they're here for us. And they don't look down on us, and they help us. They really help us."
Homeless off and on for about 20 years, Tyiska said he was at another shelter where his stay was just days from expiration–a situation which concerned those overseeing his case.
"I had two days left and I would be on the street," Tyiska said. "My case manager and my social worker, they was worried. They was runnin' around really worried for me."
Before the two days were up, he had a bed at the recuperative care center.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors hopes the new care center will also provide its patients with a smooth and uplifting transition to permanent housing.
L.A. County District Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas emphasized the center's philosophy of placing patients at the heart of their own healthcare experience rather than the clinician taking an authoritative role.
"If you feel healthy and you're positive, you can move forward in life," said Wesley Health representative Daniela Rodriguez.