The City Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee gave a unanimous go-ahead Wednesday to a proposed 25-year ground lease of a city- owned lot in Barrio Logan to the nonprofit Family Health Centers of San Diego.
The organization, which operates several clinics for low-income San Diegans, is proposing a two-story, 8,255-square-foot behavioral health facility on the property at the corner of National Avenue and Sampson Street.
According to city documents, the agency will build offices, meeting and consulting rooms on the upper floor, and 29 covered and uncovered parking spaces on the ground level, which patrons of the nearby Barrio Station youth facility will be allowed to use after 6 p.m.
The proposed lease still needs approval from the full City Council. The planned construction project will need a separate city approval.
Anthony White, the director of grants management for Family Health Centers, said the need for mental health services in the community is growing, particularly after the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act.
“We’ve seen an extreme rise in the number of mental health referrals that we’re getting,” White said. “Part of what we’re trying to do is really integrate mental health into primary care, so that these things are identified during a primary care visit when you’re going to the doctor to see them about any other healthcare issue you might have.”
He said the growing number of referrals has resulted in waits of up to four to six weeks to see a mental health professional.
In the population of low-income, under-served and often uninsured patients seen by the organization, a mental health issue underlies their physical condition around 25 percent of the time, according to White.
The proposed annual rent will start at $3,412.50 in the first year, with annual inflation adjustments over the life of the contract.
According to Family Health Centers, the organization serves more than 180,000 uninsured, low-income patients annually at its 18 locations, and via its mobile clinic, making it one of the 10 largest community clinic organizations in the United States.
—City News Service
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