Sunday, July 13, 2014 12:00 AM

Nurturing neighborhoods creates a healthier Fresno

Fresno is California’s fifth largest city and, with one of four people living below the poverty level, the U.S. Census Bureau ranks it as the state’s most impoverished large metropolitan areas. One of downtown Fresno’s most blighted areas is the so-called Lowell neighborhood around Community Regional Medical Center. Among those trying to revitalize the area is Stephen Walter, Community Medical Centers’ corporate chief financial officer.

Stephen Walter, Community Medical Centers’ corporate chief financial officerWalter trades his workday calculator and spreadsheets for off-hours work, wielding sheetrock and sledgehammer as he rehabilitates aging, broken homes he’s purchased. “We need to help people who live here to improve their quality of life, and upgrading their housing is one step toward alleviating the extreme poverty." said Walter. Community collaborates with and provides support to a number of agencies working to create a healthier Fresno, especially in downtown.

Community’s efforts to provide medical care and other assistance for the homeless through First Steps Home and the Fresno and the Fresno Medical Respite Center were recognized by Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. In 2013, she presented Community with the city’s CHAMPION award for its good-citizenship efforts.

By John Taylor reported this story. He can be reached at