Community Health Centers: A Vital Strategy for Community Development – Sporte & Donovan

“Community health centers contribute in significant ways to the growth and stability of low-income neighborhoods. Their impact has been long-standing, yet not widely known in the community development field. With the nation’s health-care system poised for significant change, it is an appropriate time to shed light on the link between health centers and community development.

The benefits that health centers deliver to communities reach well beyond their core purpose of improving access to essential health services for low-income people. The health outcomes they achieve increase worker productivity, which can lead to poverty reduction. Further, health centers provide direct employment to local residents, including entry-level jobs with career ladders. Health centers purchase goods and services from local businesses, thus spreading indirect benefits more broadly through the multiplier effect. The facilities constructed by health centers bring capital investment to underserved communities and anchor commercial revitalization.

As community development investments, health centers have an excellent track record of responsibly using debt to finance their growth. With appropriately structured financing, health centers have been able to develop modern, efficient facilities that enhance the quality of care provided while stimulating economic development, assuring their continued role as important economic engines, as well as essential components of the nation’s health care system.”

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Reference: Sporte, S., & Donovan, A. (2009). Community health centers: A vital strategy for community development. Community Development Investment Review,5(3), 66-74.

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