HOPE Clinic is a non-profit network of Houston health centers that cares, in 35 languages, for patients regardless of their ability to pay. Now it has officially started construction on a $33 million, three-story multi-purpose complex in the Alief area.

By itself, dynamically upgrading the availability of healthcare in the multi-ethnic International Management District and beyond would be a significant accomplishment.

But backers also see the complex, scheduled to open in late 2022, as the springboard to further economic development of the western Bellaire Boulevard corridor.

“This is going to be changing the entire neighborhood,” attorney and civic activist Gordon Quan, co-chair of the project’s leadership committee, said at the Oct. 15 groundbreaking ceremony on the 3.5-acre site at 13930 Bellaire Blvd.

“We want to act as a catalytic agent, activating long-term economic development, bringing businesses, creating new jobs and generating a positive change in this area,” HOPE Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrea Caracostis said.

The facility will include a training center for future physicians and other health care workers, a garden, outdoor pavilion and cafe. It will also be equipped to serve as an emergency shelter with its own clean water supply and electricity sources.

But as a Federally Qualified Health Center eligible to receive government funding, the core  mission of the complex will be to provide healthcare — including pediatric, obstetric/gynecology, internal medicine, dentistry, optometry and behavioral health services — to a projected 45,000 patients who will visit an average of three or four times a year.

Rep. Al Green, left, and Gordon Quan

Funding for the construction of the new clinic came from federal, state and county governments as well as private donations from major local foundations. Its name will be the T.T. and W.F. Chao Foundation HOPE Health and Wellness Center, reflecting the source of one the leading funding sources.

U.S. Reps. Al Green and Lizzie Fletcher of Houston spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, with Green recalling his work on the federal funding portion and praising the generosity of the foundations.

‘We are blessed for one reason. That is to be a blessing to others,” Green said. “You will know when you rest at night you made a difference in the lives of other people, and really when you think about it, that’s what life is all about.”

The Asian American Health Coalition started HOPE Clinic in 2002 as a part-time operation without its own building. Now the agency operates three clinics on the westside and one in Aldine on the far northeast side.

The future of the clinic at 14438 Bellaire Blvd., less than a mile from where the new, larger facility will operate, has not yet been decided, a spokeswoman said.