How a pill could lower epidemic-level rates of HIV in New Orleans | NOLA.com

When Arthur Banks, 47, first heard a radio ad about a pill that could prevent HIV, he thought it was a scam.

When taken once a day consistently, the pill — marketed as PrEP — could prevent HIV in more than 90 percent of cases, the ad told him.

“I couldn’t believe it. I went in and found out it wasn’t a scam,” said Banks, who has now been on PrEP for the past year. “For me, it made sense. I have an active sex life and I thought, why not protect myself? You never know what your partner has done in the past.”

In a city that has consistently been in the top five in the country for the number of new HIV cases, health workers in New Orleans are pushing to expand access to PrEP, believing it’s the key to preventing the new infections that have kept the city at the epidemic’s forefront for too long.

In recent years there has been a strong marketing push for PrEP in billboard ads across the city and the state. At the state level, DeAnn Gruber, the STD/HIV Program Director for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, recently spoke about the state’s marketing efforts of the preventative medication through social media apps as well. Additionally, the department is set to launch a program called TelePrEP this spring that will allow potential candidates to talk to a provider through an online platform so that they can get a PrEP prescription remotely.

“If there is an area of the state where the individual may not be familiar with the provider, or able to find a provider who is comfortable prescribing PrEP, it may save them from having to travel,” explained Gruber.

Health workers say this multi-layered effort is necessary, especially in the South. PrEP adoption has lagged here compared to other parts of the country, even though southern states account for 30 percent of the epidemic in the U.S., according to AIDS.gov.

PrEP has been available since 2012, when the Food and Drug Administration approved use of the anti-HIV medication to lower the risk of someone getting infected with the virus. Taken on a daily basis, the medicine can reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent. Among people who inject drugs, it can reduce the risk by more than 70 percent. It works by blocking the ability of the HIV virus to attach to T-Cells.

The use of anti-retrovirals as a preventative measure against HIV is well-known within the LGBT community, to whom PrEP has been traditionally marketed. In larger markets such as New York City, where PrEP has been made more widely available since 2012, the number of new HIV cases has steadily declined in recent years. Data showed that new HIV cases declined by about 2,000 in New York City between 2012 and 2016, coinciding with the approval of PrEP and other preventative measures such as routine HIV screenings being made more available.

Efforts to match those numbers in Louisiana are hindered by several factors including poverty, access to care, poorer health outcomes, stigma, racism, homophobia and lack of sexual education. Louisiana has been in the top five states for the highest HIV rates compared to other states for a number of years. Last year, New Orleans came in second and Baton Rouge third in the U.S. for high case rates compared to other large cities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health care providers have focused on getting PrEP to high-risk groups including men who have sex with men, people engaging in high-risk sexual behavior such as condom-less sex with multiple partners, those who have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, or are having sex with a partner diagnosed with HIV who is not being effectively treated.

Bruce Hinton, a physician’s assistant with CrescentCare, adds to that list that living in a high-prevalence HIV area like New Orleans should also be considered a major risk factor.

He recalled how in one day in February three newly diagnosed patients were put on HIV medication in one day at the clinic.

“New Orleans has such a casual attitude about sex that we have seen HIV rates explode. When you have three people in one day put on HIV medication it’s an epidemic,” he said.

According to current estimates of diagnosed HIV cases in New Orleans, approximately six percent of the population living in the 70119 ZIP code where CrescentCare‘s testing site is located at 3308 Tulane Avenue are infected with HIV.

“I tell my patients if you fall under at least of the risk factors you are a candidate for PrEP. By living in New Orleans, you automatically fall under one of those risk factors,” Hinton said.

Traditional marketing of PrEP has been geared primarily towards men who have sex with other men (MSM). The use of the prevention pill has increased in the United States but health providers still have their work cut out to increase its use among minorities.

Although the number of patients on PrEP has grown to approximately 77,000 in 2016, almost 75 percent of those patients were white. Only 10 percent were African-American, and 23 percent were women, according to data provided by the drug manufacturer Gilead.

That’s despite the fact that minorities are seeing soaring rates of HIV diagnoses: A 2016 CDC report noted that if current HIV diagnoses rates persist, about one in two black men who have sex with men and one in four Latino MSM will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime.

“We need to make sure that the people on PrEP mirror the people most at risk of being infected,” Hinton said.

In New Orleans this includes even individuals who wouldn’t traditionally be considered high risk, such as heterosexual women.

“Women represent about 25 percent of the HIV epidemic, with African-American women being disproportionately affected,” explained Catrina Coleman, a health educator and one of the people leading outreach efforts about PrEP for CrescentCare in New Orleans. “This is the only HIV prevention that is completely in control of the woman. If I could stand outside handing out information about PrEP all day I would.”

Her main marketing tool is word of mouth. She has visited beauty salons to talk to stylists about it in the hopes they will spread the word to their clients.

The reaction from the women has been a combination of shock and dismay.

“They tell me, “Why weren’t we informed? Why wasn’t this communicated to us before?” she described.

Yet another barrier to HIV prevention is the primary care doctor who is uninformed about PrEP and what it can do, according to Dr. Stacy Greene, the associate medical director and infectious disease specialist with St. Thomas Community Health Clinic.

Patients who might benefit from PrEP are not likely seeing infectious disease specialists, he explained.

“Primary care providers are the first point of contact with this patient population, but they aren’t having these conversations. There is so much fear surrounding HIV, people are afraid to go to the doctor and ask about PrEP,” Greene said. “They need to start breaking down these doubts.”

He estimates that about 33 percent of primary care providers are not knowledgeable about PrEP. There are also providers who know about the medication but aren’t comfortable prescribing it because they feel like it is out of their scope of practice to prescribe it, he added.

The clinic held a PrEP symposium in New Orleans in March for primary care providers across the state to discuss the HIV epidemic and prevention efforts geared to primary care providers.

“If more family physicians and other primary care providers feel comfortable prescribing PrEP, this strategy for reducing HIV pervasiveness may reach more people who are vulnerable to infection,” Greene said.

For another patient who is prescribed PrEP through CrescentCare, the pill has meant consistent access to healthcare, because patients have to be screened for STI’s four times a year to be on PrEP. The 29-year-old woman chose not to be identified for this article because she has not spoken to her family about her work in the sex industry over the past four and a half years.

“Sex isn’t this thing where I have to worry about hurting myself,” she said. “I think I have a much healthier capacity for being sexually active. I still use condoms, I have sexual health conversations, I am still careful and guarding my health. This is something where I feel I have a safety net.”

Source: NOLA.COM –  http://www.nola.com/health/index.ssf/2018/03/hiv_epidemic_new_orleans_prep.html

CrescentCare receives high honor from HRC

New Orleans — For the third consecutive year, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation named CrescentCare as a Leader In LGBTQ Healthcare Equality. The index scores healthcare facilities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees. Only 418 facilities, including CrescentCare, earned the perfect p score of 100.

“At a time when health care and the rights of LGBTQ people are under attack by the Trump-Pence Administration and state legislatures across the country, hundreds of top healthcare facilities are driving progress toward equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “These top-scoring facilities are not only establishing policies that save LGBTQ lives every day, they have become vocal advocates for equality in the public square. This year, we are heartened to see corporate champions, including many healthcare systems, not just speaking out, but also doubling down on their commitment to equality.”

CrescentCare, a federally qualified health center, began in 1983 as NO/AIDS Task Force, a non-profit organization that was at the helm of the AIDS crisis in New Orleans. In 2014, the organization transitioned into a primary care facility that offers healthcare to all.

“Our roots as NO/AIDS Task Force has made achieving this designation a natural fit for us as CrescentCare since we have served many in the LGBTQ community for so long,” said Noel Twilbeck, CEO of CrescentCare. “But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take hard work and a conscious effort every day to make it happen. We work hard at having an inclusive environment for our patients, visitors and employees. I am proud of the inclusiveness of our organization.”

In the 2018 report, an impressive 418 facilities earned HRC’s “LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader” designation, receiving the maximum score in each section and earning an overall score of 100. Another 95 facilities earned the “Top Performer” designation for scoring from 80 to 95 points. With 82 percent of participating facilities scoring 80 points or more, health care facilities are demonstrating concretely that they are going beyond the basics when it comes to adopting policies and practices in LGBTQ care.

The remarkable progress reflected in the 2018 HEI include:
59 percent increase in hospitals that have written gender transition guidelines;
42 percent increase in hospitals that offer trans-inclusive benefits;
21 percent increase in the number of participants that have transgender-specific policies;
63 percent increase in training hours recorded – clocking in at more than 70,000 hours of LGBTQ care training provided.

“While the 2018 HEI shows a growing commitment across the nation to equitable and inclusive health care, it also illustrates work left to be done,” said Tari Hanneman, Director of the HRC Foundation’s Health Equality Project, and author of the HEI. “And that work has never been more urgent, given the all-out assaults on the LGBTQ community from the highest levels of government.”

The potential damage that could be caused by the proposed Trump-Pence “conscience” regulation — another effort to allow a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people — is already spreading fear through vulnerable communities. In comments submitted today to the administration, parents, spouses, nurses and physicians are among a growing chorus expressing alarm at the prospect of allowing health care workers to prioritize their beliefs over care — whether it be for a transgender person, for a patient seeking life-saving access to PrEP, or LGBTQ couples needing fertility services to start their family.

Recently, CrescentCare launched a series of advertisements called, “We See You” that reinforces CrescentCare’s commitment to the LGBTQ community.

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Contact:
Augustin Correro, Marketing/PR
augustin.correro@crescentcare.org
917-331-7030

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2018
CrescentCare receives high honor from HRC

CrescentCare named as a Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality

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ABOUT CRESCENTCARE:
CrescentCare’s mission is to offer comprehensive health and wellness services to the community, to advocate empowerment, to safeguard the rights and dignity of individuals, and to provide for an enlightened public.
www.crescentcare.org

Rapid HIV care cuts time to viral suppression in half

With the help of his local health department in New Orleans, Jason Halperin, MD, and colleagues are starting patients on ART within 72 hours of their HIV diagnosis — most of them within 24 hours. A recent study showed that the intervention cut the median time to viral suppression by more than half, and he believes its success can be replicated in other clinics around the country.

“I want to demonstrate to people that this can be done in the resource-poor areas of this country, like the South,” Halperin told Infectious Disease News.

“We really are on the frontlines of the HIV epidemic in the United States,” Halperin said.

Halperin oversees HIV services at CrescentCare, federally qualified health center that runs a large pre-exposure prophylaxis clinic in the city with almost 900 active patients. They conduct approximately 10,000 HIV tests in the community each year. The disease predominantly affects young black men who have sex with men, and the core of their work is committed to this population, he said.

Before the intervention, patients with an HIV diagnosis had to wait 4 to 5 weeks before starting ART, which Halperin suggested is “better than average,” but the lapse still increases the risk for HIV transmission. There are several reasons for the delay, he said. First, it can take up to 2 weeks or more to sort out patients’ insurance, which is often provided through the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. Second, providers frequently choose to postpone treatment until they know the status of their kidney and liver functions and their CD4 cell counts. HIV drug-resistance testing is also recommended for patients with HIV before selecting an ART regimen, tacking on even more time. Finally, the price of the medication and whether payers will even cover the expense is yet another challenge.

“I really had to lay out all these barriers to start dismantling them,” Halperin said.

With the expansion of Medicaid in Louisiana in 2016 — “a gift from the heavens,” according to Halperin — the clinic could enroll patients in Medicaid services on the same day as their HIV diagnosis. In December of that year, they started a test-and-start strategy called the CrescentCare Start Initiative (CCSI), which links newly diagnosed patients with a treating provider and starts them on ART within 72 hours, ideally within 24. But first, they needed help from the city’s health department.

“So, I got in touch with the Office of Public Health (OPH), and I said, ‘This is our plan: I guarantee that we are going to have a higher rate of linkage and an impact on our time to viral suppression and hopefully 2-year data that show retention and sustained viral repression,’” Halperin said. “‘What I need from you is that when I fax you the form for Ryan White services, you fax it back within an hour. I don’t care how you figure it out, but if you can do it, I can see these patients [within 24 hours].’”

CrescentCare proposed to use Ryan White funds to cover the first 30 days of patients’ medication, giving them 4 weeks to figure out how to refill the prescriptions. The OPH agreed.

“So now, within an hour of a diagnosis I can get patients Ryan White services,” he said. “I can get them signed up for Medicaid if they meet criteria, and 4 weeks of medication are provided.”

Halperin argued that knowing the genotype was unnecessary before starting patients on ART because evidence suggests there is a low risk for resistance to the integrase inhibitor Tivicay (dolutegravir, ViiV Healthcare), which is used in combination with Descovy (tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine, Gilead Sciences). In addition, if lab work comes back within 24 hours and indicates that a patient has kidney damage, they can be switched to a new regimen.

Bow Tie Bash: April 5th, 2018

Join us for Bow Tie Bash 2018, featuring entertainment by Kelcy Mae and Will Dickerson, an open bar, foods by Food For Friends, raffles and a creative bow tie contest!

Symposium to discuss HIV epidemic, prevention efforts in Louisiana this weekend

By Maria Clark
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

HIV/ AIDS statistics in Louisiana are sobering.

In 2016 the state was only second to Georgia for the highest number of new HIV diagnoses. The rate of new cases was 29.7 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One out of five people do not know they are infected in Louisiana.

If current HIV diagnoses persist, one in two black men who have sex with men (MSM) and one in four latino MSM will contract HIV in their lifetime, according to CDC data.

Although highly treatable, the virus which attacks the immune system as it progresses into Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), can also be prevented.

First approved in 2012 a medication called PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, has been marketed to patients who are at substantial risk of HIV infection. The medication has shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by up to 92 percent, according to the CDC. PrEP has also been marketed in New Orleans, but health workers have found several barriers that have made it difficult to access high-risk patients locally.

“There is still so much stigma surrounding HIV in general. Patients feel ashamed to come to their doctor to ask for PrEp. Some people feel that they can’t afford it,” said Dr. Stacy Greene, the Associate Medical Director at St. Thomas Community Health Center. He is also an infectious disease expert.

St. Thomas Community Health Center and CrescentCare are two of the largest providers that can prescribe PrEP in New Orleans.

This weekend, St. Thomas Community Health Center along with the Bureau of Infectious Diseases for the Louisiana Department of Health will host a two-day symposium for primary care givers and health workers on the subject of PrEP and the HIV epidemic in Louisiana, offering information about the high-risk populations in Louisiana that would benefit from the medicine, how they can cover the cost of the prescription, and how to implement an HIV prevention plan.

The event is open to primary care physicians, health workers and individuals interested in learning more about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Louisiana and will take place at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans on Fri. March 2 to Sat. March 3 at 8 a.m. A link to the agenda is available here.

“Despite low awareness, primary care providers are already writing more prescriptions for PrEP than are specialists. If more family physicians and other primary care providers feel comfortable prescribing PrEP this strategy for reducing HIV pervasiveness may reach more people who are vulnerable to infection,” said Dr. Greene.

Maria Clark covers healthcare and immigration for NOLA.com | The Times Picayune and NOLA Mundo. Reach her at mclark@nola.com or 504.258.5306.

Source: http://www.nola.com/health/index.ssf/2018/02/symposium_to_discuss_hiv_epide.html

CrescentCare expands primary care, dental services in new comprehensive care facility | NOLA.com

CrescentCare’s new comprehensive health center at 1631 Elysian Fields Ave. will combine four of its current service sites in New Orleans and add space for expanded dental, primary health and behavioral health services. The facility is expected to open in early 2019.

The 65,000 sq. ft. facility includes 32 examination rooms, another eight for dental services as well as space for behavioral health therapy and psychiatric services.

Read the full story at nola.com: http://www.nola.com/health/index.ssf/2018/02/crescentcare_to_expand_primary.html

NMTC-Financed Health Center Makes Big Difference in Big Easy | Novogradac & Company LLP

CrescentCare, a health care organization that began providing services to individuals living with AIDS in New Orleans decades ago, is building a 65,000-square-foot medical campus thanks to successful partnerships, a dynamic vision and equity from new markets tax credits (NMTCs).
“I believe in CrescentCare’s mission and its impact on the neighborhood will be enormous,” said Anna Labadie, project manager for Gulf Coast Housing Partnership (GCHP), the developer for the project. “CrescentCare won’t be just a health care center, but a community center.”

CrescentCare and GCHP broke ground in August 2017 on the comprehensive health care center that will offer primary medical care, dentistry, pediatrics, HIV counseling and testing, case management and behavioral health services. The location will combine four of CrescentCare’s services sites into one comprehensive campus and is expected to triple the agency’s capacity.

“NMTCs are designed to provide financing for developments that make a significant impact in struggling neighborhoods,” said John Sciarretti, a partner in the Novogradac & Company LLP’s Dover, Ohio, office, who provided transaction advisory services and compiled the financial forecast for the development. “CrescentCare could be the poster child for that kind of impact, both in terms of jobs and affecting the health of the community members.”

Construction will take approximately 18 months.

Journal February NMTC photo
Image: Courtesy of Gould Evans
CrescentCare, a federally qualified health center in New Orleans, is building a 65,000-square-foot medical campus, with significant funding from new markets tax credit equity.

From Answering Machine to FQHC
CrescentCare began as an AIDS service organization–beginning, as Alice Riener, chief legal and policy officer for CrescentCare, said, “as an answering machine in someone’s living room in 1983. It grew organically.”

As years passed, it became obvious that there was a need for case management and other services. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, everything changed for CrescentCare–and everything else in New Orleans.

“[Post-Katrina,] we made it [financially] through the generosity of drag shows across the country and donations from pharmaceutical companies,” Riener said. “That was a reckoning for us. We didn’t want that again. Hurricane Katrina devastated the health care infrastructure in New Orleans.”

CrescentCare applied in 2013 to become a federally qualified health center (FQHC), which allows organizations to receive enhanced reimbursement for federal health insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare and grant support to provide services on a sliding scale for low-income individuals, in exchange for more oversight and a requirement that patients are served, regardless of their ability to pay.

CrescentCare gained the FQHC status sooner than expected and Riener said the organization began looking at its infrastructure. It built out some small clinics, but faced obstacles–particularly due to the fact that office buildings require extensive retrofitting to become medical locations and are inefficient for such services.

“Our vision was to provide as full service as possible,” Riener said.

That required a large primary site and trusted developer capable of making CrescentCare’s vision a reality. GCHP was an obvious choice–CrescentCare recently partnered with GCHP to deliver 26 apartments of deeply affordable housing one block from the new site.

“They realized as they continued to grow, their space needs and services changed,” Labadie said.

Riener saw the need. “We don’t want an old office building with long hallways,” Riener said. “We need nutritionists, nurses, behavioral care and everyone else working together. So in 2013, we evaluated our space and realized the buildings we had weren’t suited for what we do.”

Services Needed in Neighborhood
Health care is a desperate need in the neighborhood in which the new facility is being built. “We asked people where they got medical care and they said the emergency room,” Riener said. “[Providing care in that setting is] expensive, they’re not getting regular screening and it clogs up the emergency room. You want people to get preventive primary medical care.”

The combination of services was also important. “The unique aspect is [CrescentCare] serves a very high-need patient population, people with HIV/AIDS with comprehensive services and will now be able to bring that complete health home to the broader community,” said Reema Fakih, NMTC director at Primary Care Development Corp. (PCDC), one of three community development entities (CDEs) that allocated NMTCs in the transaction. “CrescentCare is trying to get services under one facility instead of scattered locations.”

Being an alternative to hospital care resonated with the development partners. “This project is located at the center of CrescentCare’s client population area, in a city-identified target area with no immediate access to affordable primary care services and no comparable FQHCs providing comprehensive health care services,” said En Jung Kim, executive director of equity investor Chase Community Development Banking’s new markets tax credit group. “Being able to address these community needs in an important consideration in our investment strategy.”

Benefits of New, Comprehensive Facility
Finalizing the location wasn’t easy. “One of the big hurdles was that we needed to get the lot rezoned for commercial use,” Labadie said. “Zoning issues always involve uncertainty and risk. So it was pretty encouraging to see the City Council vote unanimously at every step in support of the project.”

Once completed, the new CrescentCare facility will have a pharmacy, conference rooms, a testing center, community conference room, wellness rooms, a laboratory, a dental lab, counseling facilities, supportive housing workspace and more.

Riener said the combination of four sites is a benefit, since other services will be provided in the same building. “This isn’t just a consolidation, this is an expansion,” Riener said. “We’re building out our dental lab space, we’ll have more examination spaces and we’ll be able to hire more providers.”

In addition, Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE), another participating CDE, has a partner credit union, Hope Credit Union, which will operate a branch in the building. Hope Credit Union has 32 branches across Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

“One of the things that struck us was that it’s an amazing location,” said Richard Campbell, CFO of HOPE. “There is a gas station, a CVS pharmacy and more, but there is no financial institution. It is a pairing of our clientele and the demographics. This is an opportunity to serve those most in need.”

The location is prime. “The space is highly visible,” said Kevin Krejci, chief information officer of GCHP. “There are very few people in New Orleans who won’t see it going up.”

“It’s going to be beautiful,” Riener said. “We have been adamant that this isn’t a clinic of last resort. People will choose to come to it. That’s really important. We have a lot of LGBT and transgender services. We want people to feel a high level of dignity and respect.”

Journal February NMTC infographic
Relationships Pay Off
CrescentCare, GCHP, PCDC, HOPE and Chase benefited from the strong partnership. “PCDC has a history with CrescentCare,” said Anne Dyjak, managing director of capital investment of PCDC. “We have worked with them since 2013 in order to build health care delivery. We helped them obtain FQHC status.”

Krejci alluded to the partnership and Chase’s Kim agreed. “The project gave us an opportunity to work with a strong health care provider with a critical primary care services to an underserved community in New Orleans,” said Kim. “We also had other strong partners in the project–PCDC and GCHP–and working together to support a high impact project like this one in New Orleans is an important consideration in our investment.”

Hope Enterprise Corporation and GCHP have been partners for more than 10 years and the two enterprises have offices just blocks apart.

“We view this as the beginning of a partnership with lots of opportunity to work together to achieve our collective mission,” said Mary Elizabeth Evans, senior vice president, community and economic development at Hope Enterprise Corporation. “We had an established relationship with [GCHP]. So this project is not only an opportunity to expand our relationship with the developer, but a chance to put together favorable financing with other partners.”

Tax Credits ‘Essential’
Funding included a $21 million NMTC allocation: $10 million from PCDC, $8 million NMTC allocation from Hope Enterprise and $3 million from Chase Community Development Banking. There was $10 million in senior debt from PCDC and Chase is the sole equity investor.

“We know [CrescentCare] well as the provider,” Fakih said. “We went through a 1½-year process to work with the management team to see what expansion would look like, as they thoughtfully approached its impact, operationally financially and for better serving CrescentCare’s patients and clients.”

Tax credits were important. “They were essential,” Labadie said. “We knew the capital stack would start with maximizing permanent debt and CrescentCare had saved for the planned capital contribution, but the [NMTC] allocation was the final piece needed for the project to become a reality.”

Riener agreed. “Our attorney said tax credits make a good deal better and we wouldn’t have been able to do this without the new markets tax credit allocations and the loan from PCDC,” Riener said.

Excitement Building
As construction continues, excitement is ramping up.

“This project is particularly exciting to us, not only because it’s a federally qualified health center, but we’re also impressed with CrescentCare’s approach to serving communities with comprehensive services,” Dyjak said. “They are committed to serving a depth and breadth of the population. They will continue to serve HIV/AIDS patients, but are also expanding to serve the general population with dental, medical and behavioral services. In addition, they have a food pantry, deliver meals to homes, provide peer services, medication at a lower estimated cost, housing assistance and financial coaching. There’s a broad spectrum of services.”

Campbell put it succinctly. “I could not imagine a more worthy project,” he said.

Source: Journal of Tax Credits: https://www.novoco.com/periodicals/articles/nmtc-financed-health-center-makes-big-difference-big-easy

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CrescentCare Sets $4 Million Goal For New Comprehensive Health Center.

Contact:
Augustin Correro, Marketing/PR
augustin.correro@crescentcare.org
917-331-7030

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2018

54,000 Square Foot Health Home at 1631 Elysian Fields is Being Constructed to Revolutionize Health Outcomes in New Orleans.

January 10th 2018 – CrescentCare, a Federally Qualified Health Center which grew out of the NO/AIDS Task Force, has grown at an exponential pace in the past few years. To meet growing need, the agency made plans to build a new health center which will more than double its capacity to serve the community. The new site is going up at 1631 Elysian Fields, and by early 2019 will be offering primary medical care, dental care, behavioral health, and other supportive services for the greater New Orleans area. To complete the building, the agency needs $4 million more of the total cost, approximately $32 million. CrescentCare is turning to the community for this vital funding.

To a room of about a hundred long-time advocates and supporters, CEO Noel Twilbeck introduced the campaign, dubbed Deeply Rooted / Branching Out at Ralph’s on the Park Wednesday evening. An ask for funding was made, but he also requested help in spreading the word and enthusiasm about the necessity of this health center.

Twilbeck States, “This project will ultimately make an incredible impact on the community. As the campaign title suggests, we are poised to offer high-quality services we’ve cultivated over our decades of serving the community to thousands more—every contribution to this campaign will change lives, without question.

CrescentCare’s health homes present valuable opportunities for individuals and families in the neighborhoods surrounding them to access quality services which might otherwise be out of reach. Additionally, the centers operate at various hours that make it possible for workers in the service industry to be seen outside of traditional business hours. The 8th Ward neighborhood and the community at-large stand to reap significant benefits from this facility.
Rodney Thoulion, Director of Development for CrescentCare Remarks: “We are in a great position because sometimes campaigns like this have to start completely from scratch and it can take a long while for the facilities to go up. Because of our incredible partners, we’ve already got work started, so anyone can see where the efforts are going—just drive past the building on Elysian Fields and you can see the future of CrescentCare.”

The new facility is funded in part by New Market Tax credits provided by the Primary Care Development Corporation, Hope Enterprises, and Chase. Gould Evans serves as the artchitects and contractors. Donahue-Favret have been instrumental in the project.

At the conclusion of the event, one donor provided a $50,000 contribution to get the ball rolling. CrescentCare hopes to have more soon.

“We’re going to need a lot more like that,” said Alice Riener, Chief Legal and Policy Officer for CrescentCare, “Just like in the healthcare setting, there’s more work to be done, but it’s worth it, and we’re excited to share this project with the community. In the current policy environment, accessible, high-quality healthcare for everyone needs to be a whole-community priority.”

Individuals and groups interested in contributing to CrescentCare’s mission and the building of this new facility are encouraged to contact Rodney Thoulion, Director of Development at rodney.thoulion@crescentcare.org or 504.821.2601 ext.

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WHO: CrescentCare
WHERE: New Facility Being Constructed at 1631 Elysian Fields
WHEN: Ongoing throughout 2018
CONTACT: Rodney.Thoulion@crescentcare.org or 504.821.2601 ext

WVUE : Hundreds of homeless neighbors get a home for the holidays

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) – Hundreds of New Orleans’s homeless will be getting a home this holiday season. Local organizations banded together to rescue families in need and the disabled from the streets.

Nettie Clancy has been living under the Claiborne bridge with her dog for more than a year.

“I have Lupus plus depression so you know, it’s tough and there’s no where you can go. To the shelters, but I have a dog and so you can’t take the dog and that’s all I have. He’s my baby,” said Clancy.

She’ll tell you horror stories of what it was like being a disabled woman with no where to go.

“I’m by myself, got so many men trying to pay you for sex, drugs, people overdosing and dying – and rough, very rough,” said Clancy.

Now, she and her best friend will have a roof over their heads just in time for the holidays.

“It’s amazing, it’s like God is so good, so good,” said Clancy.

UNITY of Greater New Orleans, with the help of 60 other local organizations, were able to rescue Clancy and others from the streets. Over the past 80 days, the group says it’s moved 56 homeless families out of emergency shelter, and 182 disabled homeless neighbors into permanent housing. Their campaign is called “200 Homes for the Holidays,” but this year, they were able to give more than 238 people a home for Christmas. The group says it’s been their most successful campaign ever to house the homeless.

“It’s a miracle that so many people who have suffered for so long – children, chronically homeless individuals with disabilities – all got housed for the holidays. Now, they’ll have a safe, warm home after years on the streets,” said UNITY of Greater New Orleans Executive Directo, Martha Kegel.

Clancy will receive rent assistance and a case manager who will help her become self-sufficient.

“I connect them with resources within their community, cause I’m the one that’s finding them the house. In finding the house for them, the home rather, I’m familiar with the city and things like that, I may say there’s a food bank there or a grocery store here,” said CrescentCare Housing Specialist Keishone Sylvester.

Clancy says she and her dog couldn’t be more grateful to finally have a place to call their own.

“It’s going to be quiet, and there’s not going to be no fights, and there’s not going to be no drugs, and Jesus thank you – just amazing,” said Clancy.

UNITY of Greater New Orleans says their work isn’t done yet. The coalition plans to help even more homeless families find a permanent place to live for the New Year. That’s something the group says is critically important when you consider a recent count found 62 homeless people died on the streets of New Orleans this year.

UNITY says Entergy provided a lot of the funding to make 200 Homes for the Holidays, happen.

Copyright WVUE 2017. All rights reserved.


CrescentCare is one of the organizations partnering with UNITY to offer aid to the city’s homeless, and has housed over 140 homeless clients in the past year.

The Plan

At our new site, we’re putting the same great CrescentCare whole-person health resources from four lociations in the same building. Here’s an idea of where everything will go!

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