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Former cigar factory now a center for healthy living in Southwest Detroit – 5716 Wellness

An old cigar factory in Southwest Detroit has recently finished its evolution into an integrated healthcare center. Spearheaded by Southwest Solutions, 5716 Wellness involves a partnership of six care providers that opened mid-June.

Originally designed by Albert Kahn, Southwest Solutions aimed to keep the building’s historical air while providing modern, state of the art care facilities. It’s an inviting vision, where design elements were specifically chosen to make you feel welcome. “The message it sends is that it’s your place and it’s beautiful,” Joseph Tardella, executive director of Southwest Counseling Solutions explains.

The effects, of course, extend well beyond the building’s four walls. “We want the building to create a sense of wellness across the community,” Tardella says.

Covenant Community Care is one of the tenants that moved in with Southwest Solutions. “It’s a night and day change,” Paul Propson, executive director of Covenant, says, “putting all these service providers together has been so transformative, it’s doubled the size of our business.” The numbers are plain in sight. Before taking up residence in the Wellness building, their lobby was the front porch of the house they operated out of on West Grand Blvd. At the opening ceremony, they fit over 120 people in their front lobby.

Covenant Community Care provides affordable medical and dental treatment for its patients, accepting Medicaid, Medicare, and offering a sliding fee scale for those who are uninsured. 5716, however, makes it a point to address more than just physical health. The building also houses Southwest Counseling Solutions, providing psychiatric and behavioral counseling.

“There are physical risks that accompany mental illness,” Tardella explains “studies have shown that people afflicted with mental illness on average die 15 to 25 years younger.” Southwest started looking for an organization to partner with to address this concern, and found Covenant.

Even in the span of a few weeks, this partnership has been fruitful for both involved. “Southwest Solutions has opened a lot of doors for us, in terms of people, funding, federal funding,” Propson says. There is a definite cross-pollination going on in referrals, as the programs are located in the same building. By housing these two services in the same building, the chances that community members will get the support they need greatly increases.

 

It is an important improvement to the health of the whole Michigan Avenue corridor, too. One of many developments to hit the stretch in recent years, it serves as an anchoring force to the neighborhood, and will hopefully attract more development around it.

For more information on 5716 Wellness, visit Southwest Housing Solutions.

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