May 7, 2014

Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland supports new health center in Central

With the support of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, Cleveland’s Central neighborhood will have a new health center opening in May 2015 to meet the needs of residents who live in public housing.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, works to improves the live of those most in need with special attention to families, women and children living in poverty, working to end homelessness and to reducing health and education disparities in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood.

The Plain Dealer and recently ran an article about the new health center. As seen on

Care Alliance to open new health center in Cleveland's Central neighborhood in May 2015

This time next year, a new health center will open in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood to meet the needs of people – primarily women and their children – who live in public housing. Care Alliance Health Center is building a two-story, 30,000-square-foot facility that will provide – for the first time in its facilities – pediatric and women’s health services under one roof.

Since October, work has been progressing on the Central Neighborhood Clinic at East 30th Street and Central Avenue. It is being built on land that was once the site of a parking lot for the Cedar Extension public housing complex.

While the nonprofit Care Alliance is a Federally Qualified Health Center, offering services to patients on a sliding fee scale based on income, the emphasis of its care has been focused primarily on adults. Nearly 60 percent of people who accessed care in 2013 were homeless, with 68 percent of them uninsured.

“Now that we’re going into a community that is predominately women and children, we will increase those services,” said Care Alliance CEO Francis Afram-Gyening.

When the new Central Neighborhood Clinic opens in May 2015, Care Alliance’s staff and operating budget will nearly double. The agency, whose main office is at 1530 St. Clair Ave., currently has 65 employees at three clinics and outreach locations, and an annual budget of $5.5 million. The new center will have a staff of 56 people.

Even before securing a $5 million federal grant in 2012 for a new building, Afram-Gyening and Care Alliance board members met every Sunday for nearly two months to brainstorm the agency’s future.

They dared to dream big, as if a pot of money had fallen into their laps, Afram-Gyening said. “If money wasn’t an issue, what could we do?”

They wanted a medical facility that would meet the needs of children and adults living in public housing, to make care more accessible and to cut down on unnecessary trips to the emergency department.

An earlier site, at East 55th Street and Woodland Avenue, was found not to be suitable for a health center.

That prompted the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and other agencies to suggest the Central neighborhood, which has the highest concentration of public housing in Northeast Ohio.

The new health center will have primary care, dental, behavioral health, podiatry, vision and social services, as well as an on-site pharmacy and community rooms. 

It will have the capacity to serve 12,000 patients annually, and handle 42,000 patient visits.

“It’s so gratifying to see the community come together to provide services in such a collaborative way,” Afram-Gyening said. “I’ve never seen that [much] enthusiasm.”

In addition to federal funding, the Central Neighborhood Clinic project will amass more than $10 million, including New Markets Tax Credits (a program that offers a tax benefit for investing in areas with high poverty and unemployment) and a loan, both from Enterprise Community Investment Inc.; and Chase bank. Several area foundations are also contributing. Money raised beyond building costs will go toward equipment and ongoing operating and patient care costs.


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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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