NORFOLK-- It will now be easier for people living in Young Terrace to get to a doctor since the Communicare Health Center opened there Monday.

It is the first health center to open in a public housing community in Virginia.

'What's really unique about this is that it's a full-service, primary health facility, with a board-certified family practice doctor, who is able to see children as early as newborn, all the way up through seniors,' says Barbara Willis, CEO of the Hampton Roads Health Center.

A Health Services study found that 70 percent of the people living in Young Terrace are below the poverty level, and nearly 1 in 5 haven't seen a doctor in more than a year.

Residents say one major obstacle has been transportation. Violeatha Gregory says sometimes it takes two or three bus transfers for her to see a doctor.

'Sometimes when I get there I'm usually too late for it,' says Gregory.

Dr. Saundra Winstead, who is one of he doctor's to anchor the facility, says bringing a health center to an impoverished community can make a big impact.

'I think we can make an impact because we can give them timely medical care,' says Winstead.

Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, Hampton Roads Community Health Center and Sentara Health Care are partnering to bring health services to the 752 units in Young Terrace and surrounding area.

HRCHC received a $608,333 'New Access Point Grant' from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The money will be equally divided between Young Terrace and a second health center to be located in East Ocean View.

Willis says that Sentara pitched in $132,000 in additional money, for renovations to the Young Terrace multi-purpose Community Center, which houses the Health Center.

The Health Center is closed through the holidays and will reopen January 2nd.

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