By NOAH BUHAYAR
Stimulus money is on the move.
On Tuesday, several states rolled out their plans for spending nearly $50 billion on transportation projects. And President Obama announced that the federal government would use $155 million of the billions of stimulus approved by Congress last month to establish 126 new community health centers from Samoa to Puerto Rico (and quite a few states in between).
These are the facilities that provide primary care to people regardless of their ability to pay. They’ve become an important source of care for the poor over the last four decades.
However they’ve been under increasing strain as hard times have pushed more people to seek low-cost medical services. Many have maintenance and infrastructure needs that could put out-of-work contractors back on the job.
So what about the Mission District? True, none of the $155 million for new centers will land here. But there’s good reason to believe some of the remaining $1.8 billion for community health centers in the Recovery Act will make it to the Mission’s backyard.
Mission Neighborhood Health Center, one of the country’s oldest community health centers, has already lined up $1.1 million in infrastructure projects which could potentially qualify for grants.
As Mission Loc@l reported, the health center’s location on Shotwell and 16th streets needs a patch up, involving everything from replacing half-broken air conditioners to sealing a leaky roof.
Even if not all of the projects are funded by the remaining $1.8 billion, there are other grants Mission Neighborhood can tap into.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development received $1 billion in the stimulus package for community development block grants.
San Francisco already announced what projects it favors for these grants in the upcoming fiscal year. On the list: $113,000 for Mission Neighborhood Health Center to “upgrade restrooms, install hand-washing sink in lunch room, replace roll-up door at Shotwell Street, and install bilingual signage.”
Mission Loc@l will be checking back with the health center periodically to see whether money arrives and what it’s spent on.
In the meantime, what effects (if any) have you seen of the stimulus?