This week about two hundred people gathered in downtown Reno to celebrate a new chapter for a nonprofit community health center. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray was there and has this report.
Northern Nevada HOPES offers integrated healthcare that addresses homelessness, poverty, addiction and behavioral health regardless of people’s ability to pay.
CEO Sharon Chamberlain spoke at the event and said the center’s new three-story, nearly 40,000-square-foot building is a vast improvement.
“We operated out of a small modular building; I called it the toilet bowl because it sucked, honestly," Chamberlain said.
HOPES had humble beginnings. In the late 1990s, HOPES provided care to people with HIV and AIDS, later offering primary medical care to people out of a converted motel.
Mayor Hillary Schieve said HOPES removes barriers to health care.
“And it doesn’t matter where you live, where you’re from, what your race is, how much money you have," Schieve said. "This center will be here for you.”
HOPES provides a one-stop-shop model that includes primary care, behavioral health counseling, and social services.
For patients like Carmen, who asked to be identified only by her first name, she says HOPES has helped her with mental and physical health problems along with housing issues.
“It saved my life and at one point it kept me off of the streets. They had a medical respite type program that they set up with a local mote,l and it was a safe place to be while you were recovering from whatever your medical issue was,” Carmen says.
About a quarter of HOPES's patients don’t have stable housing. The center averages about 200 new patients a month and could be serving as many as 10,000 patients by next year.