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ATL News / Sports

Faith and financing create better care for Atlanta

 

People start lining up outside of Mercy Care as early as 6 a.m. They’re hoping for help at one of the few walk-in healthcare spots in the clinic. Steve Siler sees them on his way into the office. They’re in need. But that’s why he’s there.

Siler, the president of the Mercy Care Foundation, has the job of raising money to support Atlanta’s only healthcare program for people experiencing homelessness. “I’m a connector in Atlanta between the poorest of the poor and the wealthy donors who we’re inviting to support this mission,” he says.

Rendering of new three-story office space for Mercy Care by Smith Dalia Architects.

Teamwork makes the clinic work

“These projects are very complicated,” says Keitt King, head of Truist Community Capital. The mix of loans, investments, fundraising, and gifts is a financial balancing act that requires depths of banking expertise and access to large amounts of capital.

“It’s a pretty tangled web,” says Siler, “but one that’s supportive and extraordinarily helpful to us. I feel very supported by Truist.” Whenever he feels a need, he knows he can reach out.

Chris Leutzinger, relationship manager of new market tax credits at Truist and part of the team handling the financing, adds that “Truist knows the impact Mercy Care has on the community. We love going in and seeing the excitement on their faces about creating best-in-class healthcare.”

That healthcare is now going to be even better, thanks to the partnership.

Caring for one life at a time

The line that starts forming in the early mornings outside of the Decatur clinic can contain mostly those people who are currently poor and uninsured. Mercy Care says 77% of its patients are uninsured and 64% live below the poverty line. Mercy Care’s mission is to provide care and compassion without judgment.

And that mission is growing, with a new $22 million project. Mercy Care is expanding its headquarters building, adding new clinic space, building 270 units of supportive housing, and doubling the patient intake capacity at its Decatur Street facility. Mercy Care predicts the expansion, slated to finish in early 2022, will allow them to serve 3,000 more behavioral health patients, 4,000 more dental patients, and 1,000 more vision patients.

Truist is helping Mercy Care as part of fulfilling its own $300 million multiyear investment pledge to Atlanta. That’s where Joe Arnold’s group at Truist comes in.

Roots in Atlanta, growing toward purpose

Joe Arnold, who grew up in Vine City a block and a half from Martin Luther King Jr.’s family, has seen decades of change in Atlanta. His group at Truist has been at the center of much of Atlanta’s rise.

“Serving the nonprofit space, we’re usually the only bank for our clients,” says Arnold, who manages the not-for-profit and government banking division. “They don’t have access to the equity markets. If we don’t get them the money, many of them won’t grow.”

“We pride ourselves on being local.” Joe Arnold, Truist

For Mercy Care, that means coming up with financial plans for a $22 million New Markets Tax Credit transaction and a capital stack that would include $6.5 million of tax credit equity from Truist Community Capital, a $9.6 million Truist bridge loan, and a $200,000 charitable grant from Truist Foundation.

It’s all part of fulfilling Truist’s purpose: to inspire and build better lives and communities.

Every day, even in the hottest Atlanta summer days, workers in Mercy Care’s street medicine program go under bridges and look into sidewalk tents to offer care for people experiencing homelessness.

These patients’ financial status shouldn’t disqualify them from receiving mercy, says Siler.

“They’re children of God. They’re down and out,” Siler says. “For whatever reason, they’ve found themselves in a circumstance, and they need our help.”

Learn more about Truist’s commitment to Atlanta.



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