OC Street Medicine Program to convert a hotel into a service center that provides temporary housing to the homeless

CalOptima plans to renovate a hotel and open a 52-room street medicine support center.

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Sunday, September 24, 2023, 10:31 p.m

The new OC Street Medicine Program Center provides housing for the homeless

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) — Since launching in April CalOptima Health’s Street Medicine Program in the City of Garden Grove has provided primary health care to more than 100 people experiencing homelessness.

Kelly Bruno Nelson, the executive director of Medi-Cal/California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal at CalOptima, said if there is no permanent place to house them, they would be solving a bigger problem.

“As the hurdles get bigger, it gets harder to get out of homelessness,” said Bruno Nelson. “All of these areas are addressed here in the support center.”

CalOptima plans to renovate the Hospitality Inn and open a 52-room street medicine support center.

“They can now come here for up to nine months, receive the conditional services they need and then move on to the next stage of their housing model,” Bruno Nelson said.

The $18 million program will provide housing for people receiving medical assistance from street medical teams.

Additionally, Healthcare in Action works with CalOptima to reach people living on the streets, which in turn helps build trust.

Benjamin Kaskas, regional director of clinical operations at Healthcare in Action, said the support center is an absolute game-changer. He believes it will bring stability to those who want it.

“Without that, it’s really hard to get to the top, and this takes care of that,” he said. “This provides the framework, the foundation, for us to move care forward in a really recognizable direction.”

Bruno Nelson said the team hopes those people who are often viewed as “service resistant” will find services that work for them.

She said housing is health and believes the new center will improve the lives of those who need it.

The street medicine support center is scheduled to open in spring 2025.

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Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: LauraCoffey@worldtimetodays.com.

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