Lowell Community Health Center Expands

Categories: Investment, Press Release

With $27 million expansion, new space adds dental and vision services to largest primary care provider in the area

Lowell, MA—Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) closed today on financing for a $27 million expansion that will renovate 65,000 square feet at 101 Jackson Street, adjacent to its main center at 161 Jackson Street. Through this expansion, Lowell CHC will establish new dental and vision services and expand existing medical services. The enlargement will nearly double the health center’s capacity to provide urgently-needed primary health care to Lowell’s underserved residents. Lowell CHC is a non-profit center that served more than 26,500 patients in 2015, 94 percent of whom were low-income.

“Expanding our services and our size will allow Lowell CHC to be an even stronger part of the Lowell community,” said Lowell CHC Chief Executive Officer Susan West Levine. “Primary care, natal care and dental health are vital in not only the present but also in assuring lifelong health. Now Lowell residents can get that care all in one spot.”

Noted West Levine, “This critical expansion would not have been possible without the support of Lowell’s administration, City Council, boards and commissions. Our federal and state delegations also continue to assist the Health Center’s efforts to achieve this significant milestone successfully. Their collaboration on our expansion and commitment to public health are integral to the Health Center’s ability to serve the needs of our patients successfully.”

Lowell CHC provides dozens of services to its patients, including pediatrics, family planning, inpatient and outpatient behavioral health, and HIV testing, treatment and counseling. It is the major primary care provider in the area, with the nearest comparable facility 30 minutes northeast of Lowell.

The establishment of dental and vision services is supported by an analysis of the area’s health needs. An assessment conducted by Lowell CHC and Harvard University School of Dental Medicine found that 83 percent of surveyed patients said they were likely to use a dental clinic at the center, with 70 percent saying they currently had untreated dental decay, which is associated with heart attack and stroke.

“Lowell CHC plays an essential role in maintaining the health of the residents of Lowell,” said Anne Dyjak, Managing Director at Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), which is helping fund the expansion. “By broadening its scope of services in this new space, it will be able to have an even greater impact on the community.”

Since nearly half of Lowell CHC patients speak a first language other than English, approximately 60 percent of center staff are bilingual and staff provides culturally competent care in over 25 different languages. Much of Lowell CHC’s service area has been designated by the federal government as a Medically Underserved Area, denoting a shortage of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers.

The financing included New Markets Tax Credits, federal tax credits used to promote investment and job creation in low-income communities. The credits were allocated through PCDC ($13 million) and Community Health Center Capital Fund ($8.5 million). U.S. Bancorp Community Development provided $7.9 million in tax credit equity. Additional debt financing was provided by Eastern Bank ($12.3 million) and PCDC ($4.3 million), along with two participants, Boston Community Capital’s Loan Fund (BCLF) ($4.72 million) and The Property and Casualty Initiative (PCI) ($3 million).

“We are proud to be a partner in this project,” said Michelle Volpe, President of BCLF. “Lowell CHC’s expansion will provide dividends for the Lowell community for years to come.”

“Eastern Bank is a strong local supporter of the City of Lowell and the Lowell Community Health Center,” said Christopher Scoville, Senior Vice President at Eastern Bank. “Last year, our community development lending team made more than 60 loans totaling $200 million for nonprofits across New England. Today’s announcement is another example of our commitment to support the cities and towns where our colleagues and customers live and work.”

“Capital Fund is proud to help fund this new and improved health center, which does so much for those who need it most,” said Brandon Boyle, Director of Loan Programs at Capital Fund.

“The great work that Lowell Community Health Center is doing deserves our support, so we were happy to invest a second time in the health center’s expansion. Giving low-income residents expanded access to health care will strengthen the entire region,” said Tom Oldenburg, Vice President of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a division of U.S. Bank.

About Lowell Community Health Center
Founded in 1970, Lowell Community Health Center serves as the “family doctor” for nearly half of Lowell’s population, seeking to “provide caring, quality, and culturally appropriate health services to the people of Greater Lowell, regardless of their financial status.” Lowell CHC provides primary care including Family and Adult Medicine, Behavioral Health Services, OB-GYN and Family Planning services, HIV and Substance Abuse Services, a pharmacy, and programs to help teens make healthy choices. It operates two full-service school-based clinics. The health center has been recognized by the federal Office of Minority Health as a leading provider of culturally competent care and is top-level Patient Centered Medical Home. Our nationally recognized Metta Health Center provides a combination of Western and Eastern Medicine and serves as a regional Refugee Health Assessment Center. For information, visit www.lchealth.org.

About PCDC
Founded in 1993, the Primary Care Development Corporation is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that catalyzes excellence in primary care through strategic community investment, capacity building, and policy initiatives to achieve health equity. To date, PCDC has helped over 1,000 primary care practices improve delivery of care and leveraged over $750 million on projects that enhance capacity in low-income communities.

About Boston Community Capital
BCC is a nonprofit community development financial institution. Since 1985, the organization has invested over $1 billion in projects that provide affordable housing, good jobs, and new opportunities in low-income communities, connecting these neighborhoods to the mainstream economy. Founded to meet the credit needs of organizations and communities traditionally denied access to capital, the Loan Fund has been the core of BCC’s business lines. We provide innovative, flexible loan capital that is scarce or simply not available from conventional sources in the communities in which we work. In recent years, as credit markets tightened, the Loan Fund has continued to play a critical role in financing the community-based projects and facilities that enhance and stabilize fragile communities in a time of economic uncertainty. These activities provide employment and services to low-income residents, improve community health, and create long-term opportunities for these communities and the people who live in them.

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the largest and oldest mutual bank in the United States, with $9.9 billion in assets and nearly 100 branches serving communities in eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire. Eastern Bank offers banking, investments and insurance all under one roof, and prides itself on working harder to understand its customers’ needs so it can deliver these services in a committed and personal way. Eastern Bank, which includes Eastern Wealth Management and Eastern Insurance, is a recognized leader in corporate social responsibility and for its advocacy on behalf of a number of social justice causes. For more information, visit: www.easternbank.com, www.facebook.com/easternbank or www.twitter.com/easternbank.

About Capital Fund
Capital Fund supports the growth and development of community-based health centers serving low-income and uninsured populations by providing capital structured to meet health centers’ needs. Capital Fund manages several health center New Markets Tax Credit loan programs and provides targeted direct loans to health centers to assist them in leveraging multiple sources of financing for their capital projects. One of Capital Link’s founding partners, Capital Fund now serves as its lending affiliate. For more information, visit www.chc-capitalfund.org.

About U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation
With $20 billion in managed assets as of March 31, 2016, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, provides innovative financing solutions for community development projects across the country using state and federally sponsored tax credit programs. USBCDC’s commitments provide capital investment to areas that need it the most and have contributed to the creation of new jobs, the rehabilitation of historic buildings, the construction of needed affordable and market-rate homes, the development of renewable energy facilities, and the generation of commercial economic activity in underserved communities. Visit USBCDC on the web at www.usbank.com/cdc.

About PCI
In 1999, 13 Massachusetts-based property and casualty insurance companies established the Property and Casualty Initiative, LLC (PCI) as a statewide community loan fund. Since inception, PCI’s mission has been to increase or maintain the availability of affordable rental housing, promote development in economic target areas, and create employment opportunities and access to healthcare and social services for low and moderate-income Massachusetts residents. Whether through direct loans to small businesses or development projects or investments in regional loan or equity funds, our goal is to focus our efforts on the areas of greatest need and employ our resources to create innovative financial solutions. By complimenting the financing available from traditional sources PCI has successfully increased the amount of capital available to support the underserved markets across the Commonwealth.

About New Markets Tax Credits
New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) were established by Congress in 2000 to encourage the investment of private capital in designated low-income communities in order to create jobs, generate economic activity and improve the quality of services in low-income communities and to low-income persons. NMTCs attract investment capital to low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a 39% tax credit against their federal income tax return over a period of seven years in exchange for making qualified equity investments in specialized financial institutions called Community Development Entities (CDEs). In turn, CDEs provide below-market financing to transformative development projects in low-income communities across the country. For more information, visit http://www.cdfifund.gov.


Media Contacts:

Lowell Community Health Center
Clare Gunther, (978) 746-7891, ClareGu@lchealth.org

Primary Care Development Corporation
Michael Cook, (212) 437-3929, mcook@pcdc.org

Boston Community Capital Loan Fund
Jordan Smith, (646) 335-0621, jordan.smith@berlinrosen.com

Eastern Bank
Andrew Ravens, (781) 598-8528, a.ravens@easternbank.com

Community Health Center Capital Fund
Peg Underhill, (617) 422-0350, punderhill@caplink.org

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation
Shera Dalin, (314) 335-3335, shera.dalin@usbank.com

Property and Casualty Initiative
Stacey Parks Townsend, (617) 723-7878, stownsend@pcifund.com