When the NewCourtland LIFE Center opened to participants in North Philadelphia in December of 2013, it brought a fresh vibrancy to a neighborhood that has been in stark decline for 20 years or more.
It fills a dire need: The complex is in a neighborhood where medical care, especially for senior citizens, is in exceptionally short supply. The neighborhood is recognized by the federal government as a medically underserved community, and many residents cannot even get basic care. The 15,700-square-foot facility offers an array of services: primary care, vision, dental, preventive and in-home care. At full capacity the center can see 168 participants (patients) per day.
The $10 million project, which is on the site of a former suit factory, was made possible by a New Market Tax Credit allocation from the CDFI, PIDC. It is seen as just the beginning of a larger build-out that will include 60 apartments for low-income seniors, many of whom live today in fading homes that were built in the 1930s and are increasingly difficult to maintain.
“Now, they will be able to live in decent housing in the same community where they raised their families,” Ron Hinton, president of the Allegheny West Foundation, which consulted with NewCourtland on the project, said when the project was announced.
Beyond its immediate services, the NewCourtland campus is seen as a likely catalyst for broader economic development. The Grand Opening to the public of the center will be April 30, 2014 at which time they will also break ground on the 60 apartments.
“This is a game-changer for the whole area,” said Cindy Bass, the city councilwoman who represents the area.
(Date of loan: 2013. Date of story publication: 2014)