Seattle Hope for the Mentally Ill

One night when Todd Chimura was 15, his 13-year-old girlfriend was strangled in a Seattle park. "After that," Chimura, now 22, recalls sadly, "I stayed , drunk for about five years." He took his meals at a city trash container and rotated in and out of county medical clinics. But sooner or later he would stop taking his medicine, get drunk and wake up strapped down in a hospital bed. After his sixth trip to a state mental institution, caseworkers sent him to the El Rey Treatment Facility.

The El Rey is a former Skid Row hotel, rehabbed and reopened two...

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