Two Dreams Merge Together on the Southside
By David Ernesto Munar, President & CEO, Howard Brown Health
As Howard Brown Health has expanded its care network to include three clinic locations on the Southside, our patients and staff have dreamed of a new southside facility to house all of our integrated medical, behavioral health, research and social services under one roof. Where our current locations rely on existing buildings and partnerships, a new custom-built facility would itself be a beacon of hope for people seeking an affirming and high-quality healthcare experience unrivaled anywhere in the city.
Our allies at other southside organizations have also dreamed of a new home to uplift the southside LGBTQ community with integrated public health, education and advocacy services reaching adults, youth, and seniors. Both dreams are poised to become a reality thanks to leadership from State Rep. Lamont Robinson, Majority Leader Greg Harris, and Governor JB Pritzker who championed a $15 million appropriation in the state’s capital infrastructure bill, approved this summer, for Howard Brown Health to build a new southside healthcare and social services facility. The future development will include healthcare and other essential services affirming the lives of LGBTQ people and allies. The project envisions a facility Howard Brown shares with partner agencies to make our offerings comprehensive and integrated.
Working in close coordination with Rep. Robinson, Howard Brown has developed a four-year quarterly work plan to guide efforts to bring the new southside clinic and community center to life. Please see our Southside Development fact sheet for high-level details. The fact sheet has been shared with a few media outlets, including Block Club Chicago that published this article describing our aspirations and approach.
As you will see from the fact sheet, the first phase of development will be devoted to collecting and analyzing community input, a project that will be led by Pride Action Tank, an initiative of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Pride Action Tank led a similar community response process on the topic of LGBTQ youth homelessness. Local philanthropy galvanized around Pride Action Tank’s report and funded several of its action steps. Our hope is Pride Action’s work on our behalf will deliver similar results and highlight the major themes emerging through the community input process that should be address via the plans we create for the clinic-anchored community center.
Regional Medical Director Maya Green, MD and Manager of Strategic Partnerships Channyn Parker will be assisting me with the planning and community engagement aspects of this multi-year project. Our internal real estate team that includes our real estate advisor and legal, finance, construction, project management, medical, and program leadership will also support this project behind-the-scenes.
Stay tuned for more news of way to participate in the community input process slated to kick off in early 2020.