Legacy Community Health, a federally qualified health center, recently launched a $15 million capital campaign to raise funds for two new clinics in the Houston area.
The new locations, in Fifth Ward and Gulfton, are expected to open in 2017, although a definitive date has not yet been determined.
The city sold the land at 5602 Lyons Ave.—where the nonprofit healthcare organization currently serves Fifth Ward Residents—to Sage Interests in March this year for $1 million, according to documents provided by the city.
Legacy had the opportunity to purchase the land but decided not to, opting instead to find a new location, said Kevin Nix, senior director of communications with Legacy.
With the help of the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corp., Legacy purchased property at 3803 Lyons Ave., which will house a 16,000-square-foot clinic.
The new clinic will be able to care for about 7,000 additional patients per year, Nix said. Available services will include primary care, pediatric, OB-GYN, behavioral health and geriatric care, he said.
"Texas is the leader in the number of uninsured individuals in the country," Nix said. "Houston has a huge portion of underinsured or uninsured. Federal and sate data show 62 percent of the people living in the area are low-income. Our goal is to serve that population."
Nix said there is currently only one other health center and one full-service hospital serving the area of about 200,000 residents.
It was imperative for both Legacy and the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corp. that the clinic remain in the area, said Kathy Payton, president of the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corp.
"It is very critical for us to create opportunities for access to healthcare in areas like the Fifth Ward where there is an absence of services," Payton said. "It's important residents have immediate access to quality healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay."
The Fifth Ward CRC helped Legacy secure the land, Payton said. The project is part of a larger effort, known as the Lyons Avenue Renaissance, which aims to restore economic vitality to the 22 blocks between Highway 59 and Lockwood, Payton said.
Nix said he is confident the health center will be able to raise necessary funds to open a new Lyons Avenue location as well as a larger clinic in Gulfton, but was unable to comment on how far along in the process Legacy is. Land has already been secured for the new Gulfton location in Southwest Houston where expansion is being driven by a need to grow capacity, he said.
Legacy has 22 clinics across Houston, Baytown and Beaumont.