Steel-gray slabs rising several stories high mark the emerging shape of the main building’s entrance. Ductwork awaiting installation rests in row after row of silver stacks. Construction work has begun in earnest on the CityLink Center
, a five-acre campus on Bank Street that aims to change the game in fighting poverty by giving hope and help to people who want to make positive life changes.
Despite years of effort and expertise from non-profit ministries and governmental agencies, nearly 1 in 4 Cincinnatians remains in poverty today. CityLink, initiated by a group of social service agencies and drawing support from a host of faith-based organizations, is a radical effort to change that statistic for the better.
Its approach is based on “bundling” social services, much like the Centers for Working Families (CWF) model developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Often, those who are impoverished do not find the programs that might help them, either through lack of awareness, embarrassment, transportation barriers or scheduling conflicts. By amassing these programs under one roof, CWF has tripled and sometimes quadrupled its success rates and is now creating centers in Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago and New York.
If there can be success elsewhere, why not here? CityLink plans to offer easy-to-navigate programs and services under one roof, managed by professionals, trained volunteers and mentors--people who will provide comprehensive care and continue those connections throughout clients’ lives.
CityLink has already built support from faith-based programs and is continuing to strengthen its foundation with support from corporations, foundations and individuals. On April 13, its sixth annual Party for a Purpose will keep raising funds, offering dinner by the bite at the Manor House in Mason and music by Soul Pocket. Over-the-Rhine’s Memorial Hall will host another fundraiser April 28, when 30 business professionals, who have all auditioned, will share their rock-star alter-egos on the stage to keep funding CityLink and what may be the most thoughtful and comprehensive approach Cincinnati has seen in alleviating poverty and its hardships.
• Support: Help Cincinnati Works, CityLink’s partner, raise up to $10,000 this week through GE’s What Works Project by going to celebratewhatworks.com
and click to donate $1 once or daily to the cause.