PHOENIX, Ariz.—Two years ago, a husband and wife bought a bungalow in downtown Phoenix for $85,000. They cleaned out the refuse and junk, and spent another $65,000 to convert the home's four rooms, kitchen, and living room into a health care clinic.
Bob and Amy McMullen had marched in protests against Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 and the immigration raids that gained national notoriety for Phoenix in the immigration debate. Bob had a background in health care as a physician's assistant. And Amy, an EMT, joined a group that gave medical aid to injured protesters. It was in these clashes, marching alongside undocumented immigrants, that the McMullens dreamed up Phoenix Allies for Community Health.
They now provide free health care to Phoenix's growing population of adults and children living in poverty. It's a population the McMullens say would otherwise depend on more costly emergency room visits.
"Undocumented people have no access to Medicaid or insurance," Amy says. "And a lot of people on the market can't afford their deductible—if you've got a $4,000 deductible and some crappy job, how are you going to afford that?"
Of the 10 metropolitan areas in the country with the largest Hispanic populations, Phoenix has the highest Hispanic poverty rate and the lowest median annual household income, according to a 2012 Pew Hispanic Center report. Add to this the huge population of undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows without social services, and the clinic fills a huge need in the area.