Expanded Bronx Facility Provides Many More Services For People With Disabilities
A new multi-service health center catering to people with disabilities has found a new home in the Bronx. NY1’s Shazia Khan filed the following report.
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Music and dance marked the official opening of a new health center in the West Farms section of the Bronx.
“You name it, it's all here and in the central part of the borough where it's accessible to all of the Bronxites,” says Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State, which administers health services to individuals with any number of developmental disabilities, funded the new, $12 million West Farms center and metro community health center.
The facility, primarily serving people with disabilities, moved from the Melrose section into the 51,000-square-feet building last fall, more than doubling its space. It houses a health clinic, complete with dental and mental health services on one floor and a day program on another that teaches the benefits of pet therapy, among other courses.
“Finding transportation if you're in a wheelchair or transportation if you're very disabled is extremely difficult. If you come to a place and you're able to get the day program you need, if you're also able to get the health services you need, you don't have to be gone more often,” says Susan Constantino, the president and CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State.
Pura Martinez’s son Franklin has Down syndrome and is a patient there.
“I'm very happy. I'm content because I know when he's not home he's here and he's with family,” Martinez says.
A number of volunteers help the staff run the center's programs, including Gwendolyn Lawson.
“I run a jewelry workshop here and I think creativity is part of development and I just saw a need and I filled it,” Lawson says.
In addition to health and wellness, community members can also access other services like wheelchair repair and even hair and nail care at the soon-to-be-opened beauty salon.
The center hopes to attract even more patients if its application for federally qualified health center status is accepted.
“Whether individuals have insurance, whether they don't, whatever they can afford to pay, in a federally qualified health center that's a place to come to get those services,” Constantino says.
The center hopes to secure the status by early next year.