July 9, 2019

PCDC Financing to Support Trauma-Informed Health Care Access in New Jersey

Henry J. Austin Health Center (HJAHC) closed on financing from the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) that will increase trauma-informed care access for the most vulnerable residents in Trenton, New Jersey.

Through $2.95 million in PCDC financing, HJAHC will expand and upgrade its main site, which has not been renovated since construction in 1977. The financing also enables HJAHC to refinance its debt, resulting in a stronger balance sheet. The investment project is PCDC’s first in New Jersey.

HJAHC’s renovation will incorporate new group therapy rooms, behavioral health counseling spaces, and treatment zones. Construction will emphasize trauma-informed care principles, including therapeutic design elements to the physical environment — part of a holistic approach to treating the effects of trauma.

Trauma-informed care involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to effects of all types of trauma, which can impact physical, mental, behavioral, and social functioning.

Already serving over 16,000 patients, HJAHC anticipates the additional space and improved layout will accommodate most of the 3,600 potential patients it must turn away every year due to capacity constraints.

“HJAHC is grateful to PCDC for its partnership and guidance during this process,” said Kemi Alli, MD, Chief Executive Officer of HJAHC [pictured]. “As the only Federally Qualified Health Center in Mercer County, HJAHC serves a critical role for our population. Far too often patients from communities like Trenton are overlooked and made to feel they are not worthy of beautiful places to live, work, and play. These renovations will allow us to see more patients while operating in a dignified, beautiful, and restorative facility. Our patients — and our community — deserve this.”

HJAHC primarily serves residents living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, homeless populations, those struggling with substance use, and victims of domestic violence. Offering primary care, gynecology, pediatric care, HIV treatment, dental, nutrition counseling, translation services, an on-site pharmacy, and more, HJAHC has become a lifeline for the Trenton community.

The project is the latest to be financed through the Transformation Loan Fund, a PCDC pilot program that provides flexible financing for pressing infrastructure needs, allowing community health centers to focus on core health services.

“Everyone deserves access to affordable, quality health care, and this project will allow even more Trenton residents to benefit from HJAHC’s exemplary services,” said Anne Dyjak, Managing Director of Capital Investment at PCDC.