"We are going to cut the ribbon…there you go"
The 18 bed facility is part of the Salvation Army’s B Street Shelter in Downtown Sacramento. Hugo McFurline is one of their first patients. He’s from San Diego and came to Sacramento looking for work until he was stopped in his tracks a few days ago. "I got hit by a car and ended up in the hospital and they sent me here ‘cause I had nowhere to go after I was out of the hospital."
McFurline will be using crutches for a few weeks but says he’s getting better. "Yeah, slowly, surely, thank God…and this place."
The shelter is a collaboration between the Salvation Army and three local hospitals: Sutter, Mercy and UC Davis, plus the County of Sacramento’s Health and Human Services Department and the Mexican American Alcoholism Program.
Major Eda Hokom heads the local Salvation Army. She says homeless people finally have a safe, clean place to recuperate. "Once they’ve been discharged from the hospital and they have no place to go, they’re on the street again and often times they wind up back into hospitals because of inappropriate care."
"This is the women’s dorm right here." Larry Dayton is the shelter’s program coordinator. "There’s four bed capacity, they have they’re own lockerss, they can stay in 24 hours a day, they get three meals a day, they can pursue their recovery, pursue mental health issues and we try to help them find housing." Dayton says patients must be alert and have the ability to properly take their medications.
Another recent patient is Richard Miller. He was staying at the Volunteers of America shelter when he had a heart attack earlier this month. "And it just knocked me to my knees and I went 'woah, where’d that come from?' you know, so it shook me."
Miller was taken to Mercy Hospital and a few days later the Salvation Army asked him if he’d like to recuperate at their new shelter. He says things would have been different if they hadn’t reached him. "I would have been on the street and trying to figure out how to get appointments, then worrying about whether or not, you know, living out in the streets is no fun so yeah, I’m glad I’m in here."
The Salvation Army says by offering patients appropriate care and support services they hope to eventually get them permanently off the streets.