The City of Desert Hot Springs Community Health and Wellness Center was conceived in 2003 to provide facilities for a medically underserved community to improve the health and welfare of the community. With a poverty rate of 33.8 percent, an unemployment rate of 13.2 percent, and median family income at 45.5 percent, the need for this project was acute.
TELACU partnered with the Opportunity Fund, another New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocatee, to provide over $20 million in financing necessary to construct the facility and create more than 120 construction and permanent jobs. Approximately 33 percent of the city’s population is under 18 years of age and the project targets this important segment of the population. The 6.63-acre, 36,000 square-foot project provides upstream preventive and primary healthcare opportunities through a newly constructed facility designed to activate the community in physical activity, as well as health and nutritional education.
The project has four principal tenants/uses:
- The Boys & Girls Club, offering mental health education, self-esteem promotion, gang intervention, anti-tattoo counseling, wellness lifestyle classes, homework assistance, computer labs, and community services;
- The Community Health and Wellness Center, which includes a Cardio Gym, Dental Exam Stations (4), Medical Exam Rooms (2), Outdoor Patio Community Room;
- The Teen Center, providing young DHS residents with teen pregnancy prevention education, sex education, and HIV/AIDS prevention education; and
- The Gymnasium & Aquatics Center, which has shower and locker rooms (men/ women), sundeck, competition pool, splash pad, shade areas, and team rooms (2) shared by all tenants, the adjacent high school, and the school district. The DHS Community Health and Wellness Center has had a profoundly positive impact on the city’s youth, as well as others in the community.