By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- City officials, health care providers and homeless advocates will cut the ribbon today on a new Wellness Center in North Philadelphia. The innovative center will serve the city's neediest population.
The neighborhood around 22nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue is officially designated as "Medically Underserved" and it is also overburdened with the city's highest rates of diabetes, asthma and other illnesses. The new Stephen Klein Wellness Center aims to change all of that.
"It's not just that the Center is state of the art with high quality service," says Health Care Services director Monica McCurdy. "We want to create a model where things are integrated, where you can come under one roof and obtain a variety of services."
McCurdy hopes the new center will be a model for integrating care and lifestyle changes that will not just treat chronic problems, but prevent them.
"Helping people do what they need to do in their own lives in terms of keeping themselves well," she says. "Hopefully, this will be a gamechanger for the neighborhood."
So in addition to providers and a pharmacy, there will be classes, support groups and-- right in the building-- a Y to encourage physical fitness. There's also a hospitality area for homeless clients to shower and do laundry.
Project HOME Co-founder Mary Scullion says it's a dream-come-true.
"This is just such a day of hope, where there's been so much tragedy and violence and trauma, to have a day where we can celebrate hope of healing and wellness," she says. "It's just an incredibly wonderful day, and it just brings tears to my eyes seeing what's here today."
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