CalOptima plans to renovate a hotel and open a 52-room street medicine support center.
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 unless there's an ultimate place to house them, they're putting a Band-Aid on a bigger problem.
"When the barriers get larger, it becomes more difficult to exit homelessness," Bruno Nelson said. "All of these areas will be addressed here at the support center."
CalOptima plans to renovate the Hospitality Inn and open a 52-room street medicine support center.
"They can come here now for up to nine months, get the conditional services that they need, and then transition to the next stage of their housing model," said Bruno Nelson.
The $18 million program will provide housing for people receiving medical help from street medicine teams.
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 folks who want it.
"Without that, it's really hard to move upwards and this provides that," he said. "This provides the framework, the foundation, for us to be able to move care forward in a really discernible direction."
Bruno Nelson said the team hopes those individuals who are oftentimes seen as "service resistant" will find services that work for them.
She said housing is health and thinks the new center is going to improve the lives of those who need it.
The street medicine support center is set to open in spring 2025.