City opens health equity center in North Long Beach with focus on supporting youth, families

After more than a year of renovations, officials on Monday announced the opening of the Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center in North Long Beach, an interdepartmental center that will offer more resources to families and youth in the area.

The center is next door to the Doris Topsy-Elvord Community Center at Houghton Park and near Jordan High School. It offers a variety of free services, such as appointment-based housing rental assistance, STD testing and education, immunizations, workforce development, mental health support for those who were formerly incarcerated and life and career coaching for fathers as young as 18.

Focused on the city’s young people, the center will also be home to programming and initiatives like the anti-human trafficking service My Sister’s Keeper, the city’s youth advisory group, a reentry advisory council for people who were formerly incarcerated and a violence prevention committee.

A classroom-like space inside the Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center in North Long Beach on Monday, April 4, 2022. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

“This is meant to be like a campus,” said David McGill-Soriano, who was recently hired to conduct youth programming for the center. “It’s a hub for North Long Beach.”

Ana Lopez, the community impact division officer for the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, said that the creation of the center stems from the Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative. The center’s programming and initiatives also align with goals in the Youth and Emerging Adults Strategic Plan, such as providing more space and resources for youth.

Lopez said that the newly opened North Long Beach facility aims to answer the question of: “How do we actually bring resources directly into [the] community, while still working at the citywide level?”

An exam room inside the Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center in North Long Beach on Monday, April 4, 2022. Photo by Crystal Niebla.

The facility, which was previously used as a center for early childhood education, was converted into a health equity center thanks to Measure A funding, Lopez said.

“It is an effort on the part of the city to uplift equity issues that have been here for a long time,” Lopez said.

The Ronald R. Arias Health Equity Center is located at 6335 Myrtle Ave. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 562-570-3300 or click here.

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Crystal Niebla is the West Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of her grant-funded position with the Post. If you want to support Crystal's work, you can donate to her Report For America position at lbpost.com/support.
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