Health clinic plans move to former school

Catherine’s Care Center, a nonprofit free health care clinic for the uninsured in Grand Rapids, is raising money for a $1.3 million expansion into the vacant St. Alphonsus School building.

The Redemptorist parish at 224 Carrier St. NE is working to turn the former school into a Parish Center, according to its Web site. The school closed in 2008 and was combined with three other parish schools into the All Saints Academy.

Catherine’s Care Center currently is located in 1,300 square feet in the church basement, according to the organization’s newsletter. It serves about 450 people per month, but turns away 200 per month for lack of space to treat them.

Plans call for the center to move into 6,500 square feet — six classrooms — of the former school, which also would house a food and clothing pantry as well as space for the Parish Center.

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation recently awarded a $100,000 grant to Catherine’s Care for the project.

“In the new space, they will not only more than double the number of people served, they will be able to offer privacy and a more dignified space for service delivery,” said GRCF Program Director Marcia Rapp. “The majority of their clients are 19 to 64 and are employed, but don’t have health insurance and make too much money to qualify for Medicaid. I see that population is going to increase in Michigan.”

Catherine’s Care appointed Janet Zahn, formerly of the Community Media Center, as development director, according to its newsletter. The staff includes two volunteer physicians and VISTA workers, according to the GRCF.

Catherine’s Care Center is supported by grants and contributions. According to its Internal Revenue Service statement for the tax year 2008, the center had total revenue of $339,699, expenses of $249,186 and assets of $190,973. Contributions, gifts and grants totaled $302,053.

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