Published: November 14, 2019
An estimated 20,000 people are homeless in Massachusetts, according to a federal report, creating a high demand for services to help people in need. The Recuperative Care Center (RCC) in Lynn is one of only two in the state to provide people who are homeless a safe place to recover from an acute illness or injury; when they no longer require hospitalization but still need to heal.
At the RCC, a partnership with Bridgewell and the Lynn Community Health Center, case managers provide guests with access to primary care, behavioral health services and other supportive social services, such as transportation, food and housing. In its first 20 months, more than 100 people struggling with homelessness were given a place to recuperate.
One of those people is Kim, who found herself homeless after suffering in an abusive relationship for eight years. She underwent a series of surgeries and needed extensive medical treatment and care after severely breaking her leg in a car accident in 2018. After her first surgery, she came to the RCC in a wheelchair. Having spent time in homeless shelters, she was happy to be in a clean facility that was not overcrowded. She says she felt right at home at the RCC and staff members treated her like family.
She says meeting Beverly Clarke, Bridgewell’s Director of Recovery and Housing Services, has changed her life. At first, Kim didn’t know how she was going to be perceived. But it didn’t take long for her to realize Beverly put her heart and soul into her job, and welcomed her with open arms without judgement. The family-oriented nature of the facility and regimented schedule has steered Kim on a healthier course, helping her get her life on track.
This month, Kim will be transitioning into Bridgewell housing. She says without Beverly and the RCC, she would still be in a homeless shelter or out on the streets. Kim says Beverly never gave up on her, and she feels “lucky to know her.”
Thanks to support from multiple community partners, including Lynn Community Health Center, Lynn Health Task Force, My Brother’s Table and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, RCC guests like Kim receive nutritious meals and a clean and safe environment to begin and complete recovery. Funding for the program is provided by North Shore Medical Center.
The center is filling a great need in the city of Lynn, where homeless shelters are already oversaturated. But, in the future, more permanent funding sources are needed to sustain the RCC. The program is mainly supported by a three-year grant. Bridgewell and the Lynn Community Health Center are seeking funding, and hope funders will recognize the value of the RCC and seek to sustain it well into the future.