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Mayor, City Council, Nationwide Children Hospital’s and Community Partners announce Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families Initiative

COLUMBUS, OH - 9/4/2008

Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman today joined with City Council President Michael C. Mentel, Councilmember Charleta B. Tavares, Nationwide Children’s Hospital CEO Dr. Steve Allen and community leaders to announce the Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families (HNHF) initiative. The five-pronged effort is a new public-private collaborative focusing on neighborhood revitalization in Columbus’ South Side with the goal of impacting more than 10,000 residents annually. 


“We’re excited to work with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and other partners on this comprehensive approach that starts with housing, but also includes education, health, safety and jobs,” said Mayor Coleman. “It’s another step in our efforts to let neighborhoods thrive again.”


HNHF is focused on creating tangible outcomes through a broad-based effort that is responsive to the needs and desires of the community. It will build on existing efforts by targeting neighborhoods in the area around the new Livingston Avenue Elementary School, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and current South Side housing improvement efforts. Affordable housing is one of five components identified by HNHF as an integral part to strengthening neighborhoods to create the best environment to nurture children and families. The other four components are education; health and wellness; safe and accessible neighborhoods; and workforce and economic development.


“Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families will capitalize on the strong momentum already underway in this area by joining current efforts with new partners and resources to truly transform this community,” said City Council President Michael C. Mentel. “We commend all the partners involved in this initiative and we’re excited to work with them and the community to create a customized approach to neighborhood revitalization.”


Community Development For All People (CD4AP) and the city’s Home Again initiative are partnering with Nationwide Children’s Hospital on the housing component. The hospital has announced that it will commit $3-5 million in seed money over the next five to seven years to renovate and sell 50 to 60 homes as a part of this initiative. In addition, Home Again and CD4AP already have plans underway for renovating and selling 34 homes. This will create a total net gain of at least 84 to 94 homes in the community. This new housing effort will also provide home buyer assistance and education, a foreclosure reduction program and a home improvement incentives program for existing home owners.


Nationwide Children’s Hospital is partnering with the Columbus Public Health Department to lead efforts around health and wellness. Plans are already underway to develop programs focused on addressing needs of area children and families including access to primary care, behavioral health, dental care, obesity, preventing prematurity and reducing infant mortality, access to health care coverage, farmers markets, and asthma and diabetes education. 


“We have called this area of Columbus home for more than 116 years and so we’re excited to have the opportunity to make a real difference in the community where our neighbors live, our patients visit and our employees work,” said Dr. Steve Allen, CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  “Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families is the type of comprehensive approach that can achieve tangible results and we look forward to being a partner in all five components.”


The education component is being organized by Columbus City Schools and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It will enhance primary and secondary academic opportunities throughout the area, using the new Livingston Avenue Elementary School as a base. The focus of the education component will include creating new mentoring and academic enrichment programs, improving early childhood education offerings, establishing literacy education for children and adults and using medical residents in schools to role model health care careers. 


The City of Columbus will head the safe and accessible neighborhoods component along with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Changes to I-70/71 will result in roadway and infrastructure improvements including new sidewalks, bike paths, traffic calming and improved green space. Other targets will include crime prevention programs and personal safety initiatives such as bike helmets, car seat checks, self defense and violence prevention programs and lead paint assessment.


Finally, the City of Columbus and Nationwide Children’s Hospital are organizing partners for workforce and economic development. The hospital is undergoing an extensive expansion which is creating many new job and vendor opportunities. HNHF will work with community partners to identify ways to maximize connectivity between the local neighborhood and these opportunities. The initiative is also establishing student internship programs, creating a variety of job attainment offerings such as GED courses and resume writing classes and it is supporting the Parsons Avenue Vision Plan for retail expansion.


Next steps for HNHF are to seek community input and additional community partners to further refine the components. Recommendations around the components will be developed and implemented throughout 2009.

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Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000