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Integrated Community Care Center provides homeless veterans better access to housing, healthcare

The Integrated Community Care Center provides homeless veterans better access to housing and healthcare.
A newly opened center should give homeless veterans better access to housing and healthcare. The Integrated Community Care Center was designed as a one-stop shop for homeless veterans in the Los Angeles area.

"The people were extremely nice, they met all my needs, everybody made sure that I was taken care of, and that I was treated real special," veteran Lashell Ooten said.

Ooten served in both the Navy, stationed in Long Beach, and then the U.S. Army. But Ooten found herself homeless for two years, before she came to the center and got the help she needed. No questions asked.

"Everything from food, clothing, so many groups and so many people are donating and trying to make us feel comfortable here," Ooten said.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday. The center, located on the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center campus, has been open for just over two months.

It provides veterans with same-day access to several resources. They can get help with housing, primary medical care, mental health and substance abuse treatment. There's even access to the Veterans Benefits Administration, the Social Security Administration and legal services.

"Los Angeles is like this big beast," said Michelle Wildy, Chief of Community Care at the Veteran's Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. "We have the largest number of homeless in the nation, we have the largest number of homeless veterans in the nation."

Now that Ooten has been lined up with her own apartment, she says she can't imagine living from couch-to-couch, ever again.

"That's a great feeling, actually I'm looking forward to letting other veterans know that these services are available so that no one else has to experience that kind of anguish," Ooten said.

The Veteran's Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System has the resources to house more than 6,700 homeless veterans. Their goal is to end veteran homelessness by 2015.

Related Topics:
news veterans housing health care West Los Angeles
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