Southwest Philly group calls for change, working to build medical facility in area where there is none

Community members in Southwest Philadelphia say they have nowhere to go for medical care, as there are no urgent care centers or health facilities for those in need. But, a local church is leading a call for change.

"When we first moved here in 1972, it was only one doctors office on the corner," resident Danielle Freeman Johnson said.

More than 50 years later, the lack of doctors offices and medical centers for residents in Southwest Philadelphia are practically non-existent, especially in the area around 60th Street.

"We did the work and it’s a few miles before we get to the next urgent care," Pastor William Lonnie Herndon stated.

Herndon is a Senior Pastor at the Church of Christian Compassion. He says his church realizes how desperate the area is for modern medical buildings and is raising money to transform a former Southwest Philly dialysis center to a modern urgent care center.

"Our goal is to raise $1.3 million to purchase this facility and then partner with one of our health care partners in the City of Philadelphia to provide medical services and care," Herndon explained.

Danielle Freeman Johnson was raised in the neighborhood and she says an urgent care facility would change the landscape of healthcare for so many residents. "This is a prime location. You have all those zip codes that can have access here. A lot of people will be in walking distance."

Pastor Herndon says many medical companies do not build here for preconceived notions of the lack of health insurance and ability to pay in these neighborhoods. He’s working to correct that stigma. "We’re in talks with several partners here, in the City of Philadelphia, with several of the major hospitals and we’re hoping that one of them will partner with us."

The church has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise the money to purchase the facility by Christmas and get the process started.