Founded in 1988 in Bell, California, the Salvation Army Bell Shelter Wellness Center was facilitated by Judge Harry Pregerson. Originally, he just wanted to form an emergency shelter option for the homeless population of Los Angeles County. Today, not only is the Bell Shelter the largest homeless shelter on the west coast but it also offers residential treatment for substance abuse.
Accommodations and Food
Bell Shelter’s residential facility is a converted 40,000 square foot former U.S. Army Air base with the capacity to hold up to 100 residents. The program is coed and men and women are split into their own individual wings. Residents sleep in a large room that appears every similar to that of a communal, multi-person dorm room. Each resident has his or her own module, bed and small space for personal belongings. The residents all share a large communal bathroom on each wing.
The residents eat three meals a day in a large cafeteria with a salad bar. An on-site chef prepares the food. Although the chef prepares from a set menu, Bell Shelter can accommodate dietary restrictions and needs.
The facility also has a gym with a basketball court and recreation center with fitness equipment. In addition to living in separate wings, men and women are also not permitted to speak with each other in any of the common areas outside of group meetings.
Treatment and Staff
The process at Bell Shelter begins with a 20-minute phone call with an intake coordinator to determine if the client is a good match for Bell’s program. The next step is bringing the client in for a formal assessment.
Bell does not have a detox program and residents must test clean of all drugs and alcohol before entering the program. If potential residents are deemed unstable when they undergo the intake process, they are referred to an outside detox program.
Upon entering, each client is assigned to a caseworker who oversees his or her treatment while in the facility. Bell’s program has a minimum stay of six months and can last up to two years. For the first 45 days of their stay, residents have a blackout period in which they are not allowed to possess or use any cell phones, or make any outside calls. After the completion of this trial period, residents are granted limited access to their cell phones and can begin to communicate again with the outside world.
The program consists of educational classes as well as group and individual therapy. The counselors use CBT and relapse prevention in the group meetings. Residents also have the option of attending church once a week, with multiple denominations offered to the clients. Bell also offers computer training, job referrals and life skills classes as part of its residential program.
Bell is 12-step-oriented and residents complete step work in the program’s groups. Furthermore, residents are required to attend outside AA and NA meetings during the week. The number of outside 12-step recovery attendances required is based on the individual needs of the client.
The meetings are lead by a number of licensed on-staff counselors. Although Bell does not have a doctor on staff, the program does have a registered nurse who regularly checks in with clients. Clients’ treatment is also guided by the previously mentioned CSW caseworkers.
Bell Shelter does not have a formal aftercare program but the caseworkers do take a large role in helping clients determine their next step after discharge. If the client is in need of additional care, the caseworker usually refers them to an outside outpatient program.
Salvation Army Bell Shelter Wellness Center is a great fit for clients seeking an affordable option in the Bell area as well as an invaluable resource for downtrodden men and women in need of more than just a basic homeless shelter. The initial blackout period provides clients with a safe space to begin to adjust to their new life in sobriety. In addition, the flexible length of stay allows residents a chance to fully heal and significantly change while in the program.
Salvation Army Bell Shelter Wellness Center
5600 Rickenbacker Rd
Bell, CA 90201
Salvation Army Bell Shelter Wellness Center Cost: Sliding scale of 30% of income. Reach Bell Salvation Army Bell Shelter Wellness Center by phone at (323) 263-1206 or by email. Find Salvation Army Bell Shelter Wellness Center on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest
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