Clinicas Blythe and Fresno City Center Announcement

AOF closes $25.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit investment to expand healthcare and housing for Californians.

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Accion Opportunity Fund is excited to announce the closing of funding for two major community projects: Clinicas Blythe health center and Fresno Mission’s homeless services campus.  

After being awarded a new $55 million allocation by the U.S. Treasury Department, AOF is proud to provide $10.5 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) investment that will allow Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo to expand its health care services in Blythe, California, and $15 million to transform a former hospital site into a homeless services campus in Fresno, California. 

 Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo is expanding critical health services to the Blythe community 

Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo (“Clinicas”) has provided critical medical, dental, and mental health services to some of the most diverse and impoverished communities in the U.S. For over 30 years, the organization’s Blythe Health Center, located near the California/Arizona border, has treated low-income community members, people experiencing homelessness, and migrant adults and children of Blythe from a small, 6,500 square foot limited-service facility. 

A recent study conducted for Clinicas concluded that Clinicas’ Blythe facility should expand to meet the community’s needs. This study found that residents in Blythe face more health challenges than California as a whole. Adults have diabetes, obesity, and hypertension rates higher than the state average, yet adults are not seeking care due to high costs. For Blythe residents, accessing dental care is also challenging, as residents need to drive about 1.5 hours to Indio. 

This NMTC project involves the renovation of a 16,200 square foot space to create the new clinic, which would increase patient capacity and add new medical services, including expanded primary care, dental, radiology, pharmacy, and integrated behavioral health. The new clinic is projected to increase its unique patients served annually from 3,334 to 8,000, 81% of whom are projected to be low-income and 91% of whom are projected to be minorities. Approximately 1,332 clients will be at-risk youth. 

Recognizing that treatment is just one part of achieving healthy outcomes, Clinicas has developed an innovative, integrated collection of services and targeted outreach and education. Clinicas’ Outreach Department staff includes bilingual case managers and “promotores” who help patients navigate the health care system. Outreach Department staff assist patients in accessing care, scheduling appointments, arranging transportation or referrals, and providing translation services for referrals. 

 Project Community Impacts: 

  • 48.3 FTE permanent jobs projected to be created or retained (40.14 for low-income individuals, all paid living wages and receiving benefits) 
  • 20 projected construction jobs (10 for low-income individuals, all paid living wages) 
  • 8,000 projected unique individuals served annually (81% low income and 91% minority) 

Community Demographics & Characteristics: 

  • Poverty rate: 40.9% 
  • Median income: 45.96% of Area Median Income 
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.6x national unemployment

Fresno City Center will be a centralized location for the coordination of an array of supportive services for individuals experiencing homelessness 

The City of Fresno, like many other communities in California, is facing a homelessness crisis driven by spiking housing costs and the COVID-19 pandemic. A point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness showed an increase of 45% of homeless individuals from 2019 to 2020 (the 2021 count was cancelled due to COVID-19).  

The Fresno Mission serves homeless men, women, and children in the Fresno community. With the construction of a high-speed rail, the Fresno Mission needed to move its operations. The City Center project will ultimately serve as the new headquarters for the Fresno Mission.  

City Center is an 8.9 acre former hospital site that includes 7 buildings with over 160,000 square feet  of space—about half the area of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The City Center aims to create a community for children, families, and individuals facing life insecurities related to homelessness and poverty, and to address barriers, burdens, and beginnings through a shared campus model.  

The new campus will provide space for many community partners to provide a holistic array of supportive services. This New Markets Tax Credit project is Phase 1 of City Center, which includes the main headquarters building of the Fresno Mission and a school serving grades 7-12 with a focus on at-risk youth. The headquarters building will host job training programs, a food market where clients can select their own groceries, a family clothing closet, substance abuse recovery programs, childcare, and facilitate placements into permanent housing. 

Project Community Impacts: 

  • 60 FTE permanent jobs projected to be created or retained (36 for low-income individuals, all paid living wages) 
  • 90 projected construction jobs (50 for low-income individuals, all paid living wages) 
  • 5,800 projected unique individuals served annually (91% low-income and 61% minority)

Community Demographics & Characteristics: 

  • Poverty rate: 35.2% 
  • Median income: 46.9% of Area Median Income 
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.58x national unemployment 

 

 

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