Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (third from left) is pictured with (from left) Aaron Dejuan Morris, board vice chair of the San Fernando Community Health Center (SFCHC); Audrey Simons, CEO of SFCHC, and Jeff Chawenson, CFO of SFCHC. Photo/ California Assembly

By the summer of 2024, residents of the forthcoming Corazón del Valle affordable apartments and residents living in surrounding community of Panorama City will have access to a full range of affordable healthcare services thanks to the San Fernando Community Health Center and $2 million in state funding recently secured by Assemblymember Luz Rivas.

Rivas (D-43), who represents the Northeast San Fernando Valley, announced the funding boon Aug. 18 outside the construction site for the Corazón del Valle housing development, which will house the healthcare center on the ground floor of one of its three apartment buildings.

“Families who will be moving into [Corazón del Valle] will have healthcare … right downstairs from their homes,” Rivas told the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol, adding that it will also be accessible to the local community. “Panorama City is a very dense community – nearby residents … will be able to walk over here to receive affordable healthcare.” 

Corazón del Valle is slated to open in two phases (starting the first quarter of 2024) and will house a total of 180 units upon completion – half as permanent supportive housing, and the other half as general affordable units – for families, adults and seniors. The on-site healthcare center will open in the summer of 2024.

Rivas described the healthcare center as an ideal complement to the Corazón del Valle project because it will provide “wraparound healthcare,” including medical, dental and mental health services. She said she hopes it will help reduce strain on area hospitals often frequented by uninsured patients who don’t have access to regular healthcare.

“A lot of the hospitals in my district talk about people [going] to the emergency room for whatever health condition they have [after it’s] already advanced,” said Rivas, adding that regular preventative care can help people manage conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol or heart problems, and reduce disease progression and emergency situations.

“Affordable healthcare is not just a privilege; it is a fundamental right that every individual should have access to,” stressed Rivas. 

Jeff Chawenson, chief financial officer for the San Fernando Community Health Center, said the $2 million will have an enormous positive impact. Without it, he explained, “we would have had to dig into our own reserves – that money can now go to treat patients.”

“We’re talking about thousands of patients who we can treat with that [funding],” he told the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol, adding that it’s particularly critical because as a federally qualified health center, their “doors are open to anybody, regardless of their ability to pay.” 

“So if they come in and cannot pay, they get treated the same as a person who has insurance and can pay,” said Chawenson. He said the center will accept most health insurance plans, Medi-Cal, Medicare and offer a sliding fee scale. “That’s going to be huge for this community. … We’re just so delighted. I can’t even begin to describe it.”

According to Audrey Peterson, director of housing development for Holos Communities, the nonprofit organization developing Corazón del Valle, they anticipate that the apartments will be leased out approximately over the next six months, with half of the residents selected through a coordinated entry system and half via a lottery system that will be open to the general public.

For more information about the San Fernando Community Health Center, go to:

For more information about the Corazón del Valle project, go to: