State legislators joined Kedren Health officials Wednesday to formally present the South Los Angeles health center a $30 million check to expand its behavioral health hospital.

The state funding will help Kedren renovate and expand its campus at 4211 S. Avalon St. Officials said they hope the expansion will help Kedren combat disparities in health, mental health, homelessness and poverty in its community and Los Angeles County.

“Kedren Community Health Center is a pillar in the South L.A. community. It was an honor to help champion such critical investment in the state budget, and recognize their commitment to health equity,” Sen. Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, said in a statement.

“I look forward to seeing Kedren effectively and compassionately continue to expand behavioral health care services and close health care disparities across the region. Supporting community starts with supporting community health centers,” she said.

Kedren was founded following the Watts riots in 1965 by 16 Black psychiatrists, led by child psychiatrist Dr. James Jones, with the goal of helping young children with mental health services.

The center provides integrated and behavioral health services to children, youth, adults and families, with services offered regardless of a person’s immigration status, residency, language, culture, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or ability to pay.

“This has been an 18-year struggle to acquire the support and funding to create a holistic one-stop medical home for healing and reintegration. We will now be the first, and for this we are grateful to our State Representatives for never giving up on equity and delivering for our community,” Kedren President and CEO Dr. John Griffith said in a statement.

Kamlager and Griffith were joined at the ceremony by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood; Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles; Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price and Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Director Jonathan Sherin.

“Kedren has been a force of nature in the 9th District when it comes to addressing the urgent needs of the community. Their medical staff have their fingers on the pulse of what it takes to turn someone’s life around,” Price said.

“With the expansion of the hospital’s behavioral health, they will be even better equipped to address the conditions suffered from mental illness and homelessness from the inside out.”

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