A new $18.2 million project will expand Callen-Lorde Community Health Center into Brooklyn, furthering its mission of culturally competent and accessible health care for New York City’s LGBTQ community.
Located in the heart of Downtown Brooklyn, the new 25,000-square-foot facility is projected to serve more than 15,000 additional patients and create nearly 100 full-time jobs. PCDC is leading the financing by providing $6 million in debt financing and $8 million in New Markets Tax Credits.
A portion of the debt financing — $2.5 million — is from the Community Health Care Revolving Capital Fund (the Fund), a loan program developed by PCDC and made possible by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York with funding from New York State. The Fund was established to provide revolving capital to qualified community-based health care providers, to improve access to affordable capital financing, and to grow health care capacity in New York. Primary care, mental health service, and substance abuse treatment providers with NYS Article 28, 31, and 32 licenses are eligible for low cost loan financing through the Fund.
“PCDC has been our longtime strategic partner, and we would not have been able to imagine and actualize our expansion into Brooklyn without them,” said Wendy Stark, Executive Director of Callen-Lorde. “The new Brooklyn facility will allow us to expand our capacity by close to 70% at a time when we are, because of space constraints, unable to meet our communities’ demand for primary care and behavioral health services. This critical expansion of culturally appropriate services will result in healthier LGBTQ communities, and ultimately, a healthier Brooklyn.”
Callen-Lorde currently has three locations: two in Manhattan and one in the Bronx. All three are operating at capacity and unable to meet growing demand. Offering a wide array of services — long-term mental health programs, women’s health, dental, 340B pharmacy, transgender health services, and many more — Callen-Lorde has become a lifeline for many who otherwise would not have access to affordable and culturally competent primary care. For instance, an estimated 13 percent of Callen-Lorde patients travel from outside New York City to access care, as do a significant number of patients who do not publicly identify as LGBTQ.
The Brooklyn center will be fully integrated, with primary care, behavioral health, and a pharmacy housed together to encourage seamless delivery of care. It is also thoughtfully positioned: a third of Callen-Lorde patients live in Brooklyn — freeing space for new patient intake at the overcrowded existing locations.
Studies have shown that without a local LGTBQ-oriented provider, many people will opt to forego regular care rather than see providers who are not receptive to their needs. This is especially important as residents of Downtown Brooklyn experience higher rates of both new HIV infections and psychiatric hospitalizations than New York City as a whole.
In 1995 Callen-Lorde was among the first providers to receive PCDC financing, resulting in the construction of its Main Center on West 18th Street. Over the past 25 years, PCDC has provided Callen-Lorde with $22.6 million in total financing and supported its transformation into a full service, multi-site FQHC.
“PCDC is pleased to have a rich history and relationship with Callen-Lorde,” said Anne Dyjak, Managing Director of Capital Investment at PCDC. “Their incredible commitment to the LGBTQ community has transformed the landscape of care in New York, and they are a global leader and model for other providers. We are proud to be a long term partner and supporter of their expansion of high quality care and services.”
Founded in the wake of Stonewall, Callen-Lorde has been providing innovative care to the LGBTQ community since 1969. Beyond its pioneering work in both HIV and transgender care, Callen-Lorde is also invested in advocacy, research, and education to advance LGBTQ rights across the country.