Heavy with recent immigrants, Brighton Park is a young community with thousands of children. Recognizing that, Esperanza places a strong emphasis on providing pediatric care. --Photo courtesy of Esperanza Health Centers

Heavy with recent immigrants, Brighton Park is a young community with thousands of children. Recognizing that, Esperanza places a strong emphasis on providing pediatric care. --Photo courtesy of Esperanza Health Centers

Health care expansion planned for Brighton Park

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Esperanza secures $4.2 million for 47th/California

From staff reports

Esperanza Health Centers is one of 26 finalists to receive more than $33.5 million in grant funding from the city’s Recovery Plan Community Development grant program.

The award of $4.2 million will enable Esperanza to break ground on a long-awaited expansion of its current Brighton Park health clinic which opened its doors in 2019 at 4700 S. California and currently sees about 19,000 patients a year.

“This is the single-largest award we have ever received for a capital project at Esperanza,” said Heidi Ortolaza-Alvear, Esperanza Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. “This funding is going to ensure that Esperanza can finally move forward with this project and deliver a transformational health hub for lower-income residents of Chicago’s Southwest Side.”

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Heavy with recent immigrants, Brighton Park is a young community with thousands of children. Recognizing that, Esperanza places a strong emphasis on providing pediatric care. –Photo courtesy of Esperanza Health Centers

Expected to break ground in October of this year, the new Esperanza clinic will add 40,000 square feet of clinical space for expanded medical and behavioral health services, new senior programming, a family medicine residency program in partnership with Rush University Medical Center, and multiple indoor and outdoor spaces for health, learning and recreation.

With 36 exam rooms, seven counseling rooms, a community “superlobby,” full-service café, public plaza and more, Esperanza’s expansion in Brighton Park is especially opportune given the health center’s rapid increase in new patient demand over the past two years.

In 2019, just before the start of the pandemic, Esperanza was serving about 27,000 patients a year. In 2021, that number had increased to more than 50,000.

Once it opens in the fall of 2023, Esperanza anticipates the site will serve an additional 23,000 patients a year and accommodate more than 80,000 patient visits.

Of particular note to the community is a new senior services center and gerontology suite that forms the backbone of the new site. With 10 exam rooms and multiple activity spaces planned, Esperanza hopes to offer its growing senior population more options for bilingual, culturally relevant services.

“We are extremely grateful to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Commissioner Maurice Cox and the City of Chicago for making these community development investments possible and for recognizing the potential of our project in Brighton Park,” Ortolaza-Alvear added. “Like the other projects selected in this first round of funding, we truly believe ours will add substantially to the health, wellness and vitality of our city neighborhoods.”

Esperanza Health Centers is a Federally Qualified Health Center that operates five primary care clinics on the Lower West Side and the Southwest Side.

Through the provision of bilingual, culturally appropriate primary and specialty care, behavioral health and wellness services, Esperanza strives to improve what they call health equity and reduce barriers to care for the residents of the medically underserved, primarily Latino communities. Since 2004, Esperanza has delivered care regardless of immigration status, insurance status or ability to pay.

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