Plans for expansion at Desert AIDS Project are officially in the works and at the 24th annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, leaders announced $20 million will go to growing the organization to serve more people in the Coachella Valley.

By the end of Saturday evening, more than $12 million had already been pledged, leaving $8 million left until the Capitol Campaign called Vision 2020 is fully funded.

It’s no surprise that the Desert AIDS Project is growing exponentially. Five years ago

it’s no surprise that the desert aids project is growing exponentially when Darrell Tucci, Chief Development Officer for DAP, came on board…they served around 2,000 clients. Today, they serve 4,600. When the expansion is complete, they’ll offer services to more than 10,000 people.

“We’ll be able to double our capacity for dental care, double our capacity for behavioral health and for medical care,” said Tucci.

DAP would add more than 4,000 new medical patients, around 800 dental patients and about 700 behavioral health patients.

“Right now we know there are about 40,000 people in our service area here who right now don’t have access to quality primary care. So we are looking to making sure we get those folks into proper health care,” he said.

The new campus will include the old Riverside County building which is now owned by Desert AIDS Project. The lot next to it is theirs too and it’s specifically for housing.

“We’ll be building 60 more units,” said Tucci. “For people who are living at 200 percent of the poverty level or below, and also living with an hiv/aids diagnosis.”

Right now, there’s a three year waiting period for DAP’s Vista Sunrise apartments. The phase two apartment complex would get those in need under a roof even quicker.

And after the dust settles in 2020, the campus will grow another 20,000 square feet to just over 60,000 square feet. Every inch is a milestone in the fight against HIV and AIDS here in the Coachella Valley.

DAP leaders say they expect to break ground in the next month on this expansion project, hoping to finish the majority of it by the year 2020.

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