Howard Brown Health Unveils Plans to Expand Clinic Services on Chicago’s North and South Sides
Initiatives include site relocations, community needs assessments, and phased construction over the next several years
CHICAGO, Ill. – Today, Howard Brown Health announced a multi-year expansion plan to better serve its current and future patients. As Chicago’s premier LGBTQ nonprofit healthcare organization, this expansion would extend critical, high quality health and wellness programs to up to 15,000 additional patients per year.
Plans include the development of a new and larger Broadway Youth Center to better serve LGBTQ youth; a new clinic on North Halsted to relocate the existing practice in Boystown; and a new clinic-anchored community center serving South Side LGBTQ residents.
These new developments respond to high volumes at existing clinics, Howard Brown’s growing workforce, and an increasingly high demand for the agency’s model of care. They will expedite access to medical and behavioral healthcare, which are services that have experienced longer wait times during peak hours.
“As the need for LGBTQ affirming healthcare services continues to grow, Howard Brown is responding with intentional plans that will increase capacity to serve more people than ever before,” said David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO of Howard Brown Health. “Our patients deserve timely appointment scheduling, shorter wait times for walk-in sexual health, and affirming wrap around services. I’m excited to take the next steps towards making our model of care more accessible to those who need it most.”
Broadway Youth Center Relocation
Once construction is completed in summer 2021, a five-floor, 20,000-square-foot facility at 1023 W. Irving Park Road will become the new permanent home for the Broadway Youth Center (BYC). The new location will have a dedicated floor for clinical services and house BYC’s vocational, education, behavioral health, enabling, outreach, cultural, and basic-need programs. Wheeler Kearns Architects are working closely with BYC participants and staff to design the facility.
Demand for services has risen sharply in the past three years at BYC’s current location at 4009 N. Broadway, creating the need for a larger facility. The current BYC location helps more than 2,500 youth annually. The new location will allow programming for up to 4,500 BYC participants and clinical services for as many as 6,000 teens and young adults annually.
This is only the second time in Howard Brown’s 45-year history that a facility will be built from the ground up by the agency. In 1998, Howard Brown built the facility housing the Sheridan clinic.
Howard Brown is in negotiations to acquire 3501 N. Halsted, presently owned by LJ Bar LLC and operated as Little Jim’s Tavern. The proposed development is subject to City Council approval. The new property would double the capacity of the existing Halsted clinic for primary care appointments, provide additional space for walk-in sexual and reproductive healthcare, and house wrap around and behavioral health services. The proposed building will maintain street-level retail space, provide parking, and alleviate high wait times at Howard Brown’s flagship location on Sheridan Road.
“After 45 years of serving the community, we are retiring from business ownership. In planning the disposition of the property, we hoped its new use would preserve the character of North Halsted Street,” said LJ Bar LLC, owner of Little Jim’s Tavern. “We are thrilled that Howard Brown Health is planning to acquire the site to continue our legacy of community support and service.”
South Side Needs Assessment
Working on expanding access to LGBTQ affirming services on Chicago’s South Side, Howard Brown has contracted with Pride Action Tank to lead a comprehensive needs assessment among LGBTQ-identified South Siders. The project will rely on in-person and electronic feedback to gauge service needs and priorities, ultimately guiding the development of a community center. In September 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law the Rebuild Illinois infrastructure bill, which included a $15 million appropriation for Howard Brown Health to build a new healthcare and social services facility on the South Side. More information on the needs assessment can be found on Pride Action Tank’s website. More information about the South Side development project can be found here.
Howard Brown Health exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness. Howard Brown is the largest LGBTQ organization in the Midwest, providing primary and specialty healthcare, social services, and infectious disease screenings to more than 35,000 people each year. The 11 clinics and three resale stores span the City of Chicago, from Englewood to Rogers Park. For more information, visit howardbrown.org.