Bell Shelter to assist mentally ill homeless
by Kamara Noelle Sams Holden –
MAJOR FUNDERS AND supporters of Bell Shelter get a peek at the contruction of the new mental health facilities.
It is estimated that up to 50 percent of homeless adults in Los Angeles County suffer from mental illness, and for many of those the condition is compounded by patterns of alcohol and drug abuse.
As a result, The Salvation Army Bell Shelter, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and ENKI Health and Research Systems, Inc., is developing a program to provide on-site assessment and treatment for mentally ill homeless men and women and those who are also dual diagnosed with mental illnesses and substance abuse.
The new program, set to open in the summer of 2003, will provide an effective continuum of care for mentally ill homeless men and women.
“The Salvation Army Bell Shelter will provide comprehensive services that will lead mentally ill men and women from homelessness and hopelessness to stable environments, and help them reach their potential as productive members of their communities,” said Lt. Col. Alfred R. Van Cleef, Southern California divisional commander.
Funding for the new development comes from several sources including the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, California Department of Mental Health, State of California Department of Housing and Community Development, the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs and The California Endowment.
During a recent donor acknowledgement ceremony at the Bell Shelter, major funders and supporters spoke about their backing of Bell Shelter. They included: Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca; Judge Harry Pregerson, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit; Dr. Stephen Mayberg, California Department of Mental Health; Dr. Marvin Southard, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health; Dr. Robert Ross, The California Endowment; Martha Aviles, Office of Supervisor Gloria Molina; William L. Daniels, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Carlos Jackson, Community Development Commission; and Bill Andrews, California Department of Housing and Community Development.
Located a few miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles in the city of Bell, the shelter opened in January 1988 and occupies more than 45,000 square feet. On any given night, Bell Shelter is able to tend to the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of more than 350 homeless men and women. In addition to housing, Bell Shelter provides nutritious meals, case management, counseling, on-site health care & medical referrals, ESL classes, HIV/AIDS education, 12-step substance abuse recovery program, computer training, job training and referrals and life skills classes. The new mental health program will open on 30,000 square feet, making Bell Shelter one of the largest homeless care facilities in the nation.
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