Bell Shelter opens new program
by CARLA L. JACKSON –
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher greets Judge Harry Pregerson as Commissioner Todd Bassett and Lt. Colonel Alfred VanCleef look on.
The Salvation Army Bell Shelter recently hosted a dedication to honor the opening of the new Bell Shelter, with its newest component—a mental health assessment and treatment center for homeless men and women who are mentally ill or dual diagnosed with mental illness and substance abuse.
The homeless population of people with mental illness is growing exponentially in Los Angeles. To help deal with this crisis, The Salvation Army responded by creating Bell Shelter’s new state-of-the-art mental health program. Funding from the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, the California State Department of Mental Health, the Department of Housing & Community Development, the Department of Veterans Affairs and The California Endowment helped construct the dual-diagnose residential program.
The mental health program will provide 240 new beds for homeless individuals with mental health issues and on-site mental health triage, assessments, and treatment through ENKI Health & Research Systems, Inc. (a nonprofit mental health provider). An additional 110 beds are set aside to assist homeless men and women, many of whom have substance abuse dependencies.
Some of the people who helped bring the project to fruition spoke at the ceremony about their connection to Bell Shelter. They included: Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, Judge Harry Pregerson (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit), William Smith, a Bell Shelter resident and James Jasper, a Bell Shelter graduate.
Commissioner W. Todd Bassett, national commander, gave the dedicatory address and noted, “…The Salvation Army has historically responded to problems not with criticism but with compassion, hope and forward thinking. Bell Shelter is a shining example of that belief at work.”
Before the ceremony ended, Lt. Col. Alfred Van Cleef, divisional commander, announced that the main hall would be called “Judge Pregerson Hall” as a symbol of Pregerson’s tireless devotion to The Salvation Army; with that, Commissioner Carol Bassett gave the dedicatory prayer.