By Southwester Staff
On April 9, the Unity Healthcare Southwest Health Center was officially reopened on I (Eye) St., SW. Unity staff members, along with local leaders, held a ribbon cutting ceremony at The Aya, where the health center is located. The event featured a small, socially-distanced in-person gathering, and it was streamed live on Unity Health Care’s social media page.
Unity Health Care offers services for a range of populations and stands out in Washington as one option for people experiencing homelessness to pay less or no fees, based on their income. At the ribbon cutting, Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6) said it was important for the city not to “treat our neighbors, brothers, sisters, [and] family members experiencing homelessness the way we have at Reservation 13.” Located near the Stadium-Armory Metro station, Reservation has been home to, among other facilities and offices, Washington’s main homeless shelter.
According to Councilmember Allen, Southwest was originally only slated to receive 50 units of housing, but local leadership spurred the municipal government to add more. Now, Ward 6 has “housing and we get the brand new returned Southwest Health Center.” Allen said Ward 6 wouldn’t have “gotten the amazing new space…if we hadn’t played a little hardball.”