“I want to salute our partners at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for their dedication to and investments in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Coleman. “I am also pleased that these NSP-funded homes meet the AWARE Green standards adopted by the City of Columbus and Franklin County to create healthy housing options that will save families money on their utility bills.”
NSP was established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. Through the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed and abandoned homes and residential properties, the goal of the program is being realized.
HNHF, first announced in September 2008, is a five-pronged, public-private collaborative focused on neighborhood revitalization in Columbus’ South Side, which creates tangible outcomes through a broad-based effort that is responsive to the needs and desires of the community. Built on existing efforts, HNHF targets the neighborhood around the new Livingston Avenue Elementary School, Nationwide Children’s 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.
“The City of Columbus and Nationwide Children’s Hospital are bringing many ideas to the table because there is no single solution to the problem of poverty or access to health care in our community,” said Councilmember Tavares, chair of the Health and Human Development Committee. “Working together, across a broad range of social service agencies and components, we will affect change in Columbus.”
Since its inception, HNHF has acquired 21 vacant/foreclosed homes in the target area. In 2011, HNHF plans to renovate an additional 16 homes with funds from NSP2, the United Way and Nationwide Children’s. Under a program to work with existing home owners in the area, HNHF has made improvements to 22 homes since 2008, and in collaboration with the United Way, has committed to complete an additional 24 home repairs in the next two years.
During the last two years, additional housing efforts have gained momentum. Community partners CD4AP, Columbus Housing Partnership and the city’s Home Again initiative, have improved 14 homes in the target area. In addition to the home improvement incentives program for existing home owners, these organizations provide home buyer assistance and education, and a foreclosure prevention program.
“Thanks to the many public and private partners now involved in these local housing efforts, Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families is well on its way to achieving our vision of affordable housing as part of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization,” said Dr. Allen of Nationwide Children’s. “This NSP funding is just the latest tangible example of the results we can achieve by coming together with a shared goal of making a difference in the community we call home.”
In addition to progress around housing, HNHF has made advances around its other four components. Health and wellness efforts include a new charitable pharmacy, vaccination clinics, farmers’ markets and anti-obesity programs in local schools. Education efforts include mentoring at schools and a family literacy project. Neighborhood safety is being targeted with volunteer-staffed walking routes for children going to school. Around workforce development, Nationwide Children’s has held a series of local vendor open houses to increase business going to neighborhood firms.