Life on the street in Los Angeles means dodging one danger after another. For Heriberto, the danger became real when he was struck by a car. The accident left him with two broken legs.
Heriberto had been homeless for some time. He had lost touch with his family and drugs were very much a part of his daily life. Until his accident, any memories of living in a ‘home’ were distant and he didn’t feel compelled to reach out to get help to change his circumstances. The accident changed his perspective because he experienced care and connection.
After receiving his initial care at Ronald Reagan Hospital, he was referred to National Health Foundation’s San Gabriel Valley Recuperative Care (SGV) facility. SGV provides 24-hour care in a safe and nurturing environment that is the most compassionate and cost-effective option for patients facing hospital release who do not have a home to return to.
Heriberto soon asked for help to ‘get better’. Knowing that ‘housing equals health’ staff seized the opportunity to reconnect Heriberto with his family in the hopes that a permanent housing solution could be found. While he healed physically through physical therapy and doctor visits, his emotional strength began to return when he received a photo of his daughter and reconnected with his sister.
Today, Heriberto is living with his parents in Florida and has transitioned from a wheelchair to a walker. He is, in his words, getting his life together again. His gratitude for the staff of SGV could not be measured, he said.
Since the recuperative care program’s inception in 2007, more than 1695 individuals have received post-hospital care. Of these, 525 were then placed into transitional housing, 413 into shelters, 25 into permanent supportive housing and 306 into permanent housing. The two Pathway Recuperative Care facilities, SGV and Los Angeles, offer 34 beds and 56 hospitals have partnered with the program to ensure a safe and comfortable full recovery for their patients who do not have a home.