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Longtime community health center expanding to Elyria-Swansea neighborhood

Tepeyac Community Health Center plans to complete its large second location by around October. It'll be under the same roof as an affordable housing complex.

DENVER — 28 years ago, Tepeyac Community Health Center started in a 700 square foot house that was converted into a clinic with just two exam rooms. 

Now, CEO Jim Garcia says he's excited about the future of the new, second location. 

"To be here in a 25,000 square foot space is pretty incredible," he said, surrounded by construction.

Today's current and only location of the health center is in Globeville. 

But by around October, Garcia says, a large additional location will be completed in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, sharing the same building as an affordable housing complex. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
The new Tepeyac Community Health Center will be below the Viña Apartments, which is considered an affordable housing complex.

Culturally responsive health care

Garcia estimates that more than 90% of their patients are Latino. 

They provide a full spectrum of primary care, including services for newborns, prenatal programs, a growing pediatric program and more. 

"And it's not just being bilingual," Garcia said. "But being bicultural to understand where our patients are coming from and being able to create services that meet the needs of the community and responds to the needs of the community."

Garcia says they try to break barriers that Latinos face in the health care system, with an emphasis on affordability. 

"Especially those in our community that have very few options for their medical care, their mental health care, their dental care," he said. 

In their current facility in Globeville, Garcia estimates that they can serve between 80 to 100 people a day, but with their new facility, he says they can double that number. 

The new facility will include six dental suites, 20 exam rooms, a pharmacy, a wellness area (with an emphasis on mental health) and more. 

Garcia said it was important to provide affordable health care to a neighborhood that has long been underserved. 

"But also I think a neighborhood that just hasn't received its share of services over the past decades," he said. "And so I think it's really exciting to see this neighborhood receiving the attention it deserves. And that's one of the reasons why we, our board, decided to, you know, to build this facility here in the heart of Globeville, Elyria-Swansea."

Credit: Luis de Leon
Jim Garcia shows the layout of the future second location of Tepeyac Community Health Center.

Several services in one

Connected directly next to, and above the second location are what's called the Viña Apartments, considered to be affordable housing by the City and County of Denver's Department of Housing Stability

Developed by Atlanta-based Columbia Ventures, half of the 150-unit apartment complex would be for those at the 30% and 50% of average median income levels, which translates to anywhere between a single person making between $22,050 and $36,700. 

Garcia expects a majority of the people living in the complex will receive their medical, mental or dental health care at their center. 

A food market is also planned to be mixed into the complex.

"Especially as far as our Latino community is concerned, you know, to be able to offer all these services basically under one roof is is incredibly exciting," he said. 

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