Salud Para La Gente
Medical Clinic

Watsonville, California
CDFI: Santa Cruz Community Credit Union
Loan type: Community facilities loan

Salud Para La Gente is a full service medical clinic serving the low-income population of Watsonville, California. Ninety-eight percent of their staff and most of their clientele are Latino, many from the farm worker community of the Pajaro Valley. For most of these people, Salud is the sole care provider.

When it was founded in 1981, the clinic was located in very small space, formerly a garage. As Ruben Chavez, the first director recalls, "We used to operate out of a real hole in the wall. The waiting room was always packed. We didn't have enough examining rooms, and it was hard to attract staff because the working conditions were really inferior."

Finally, the clinic found a building with the right size and location, but obtaining bank financing was a real challenge. Fortunately, the clinic directors learned about the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. "When this building became available, we thought that with the right remodeling, it would be perfect, but the financing looked shaky. When the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union stepped in, it was clear that they understood the importance of our work here. Their initial loan made it possible for us to continue."

As the clinic has expanded, the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union continues to play a significant role. New Director Cory Allen says, "Our relationship with the credit union is that they are basically our banker. They keep all of our money, they move it around for us, and they protect it when we are occasionally not able to protect it ourselves. I really identify them as the major angel that Salud has hovering over its building."

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