Rev John Edgar stepped to the podium and prepared to speak as thunder boomed. The crowd of dignitaries and community leaders nervously laughed and huddled together under tents that provided shelter from the storm.
This community has faced many booms and storms over the last decades: storms of the end of manufacturing jobs, unemployment, violence, and addiction. The decline of the neighborhood echoed with a boom with the closure of Heyl Elementary School in 2013.
Today, as speakers offered a new vision, rain slowed and dark clouds cleared.
More than 50 people gathered to launch the vision of Career Gateway Homes. Although Community Development for All People has developed over $50 million of affordable housing in the last decade, this project creates new opportunity.
The Residences at Career Gateway will include 58 residential units (14 townhomes and 44 multi-family apartments) built on the site of the former elementary school. These units will be rented to households at or below 60% of area median income. In addition to increasing access to safe, affordable housing, The Residences will include 2,400 square feet of on-site workforce and career-development training. People who live here will be connected with the resources to gain employment and jobs that provide a livable wage.
A cadre of speakers echoed that this connection of housing and employment provided a model that could be copied across the state and the country. However, the key to this initiative is found in the diversity of relationships. The initial idea for this project came from community gatherings, the funding for this project came from private and public sources, the realization of economic development came through the commitment of Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
In his closing remarks, Rev Edgar said, “It takes all of us.” This simple statement is the secret ingredient that makes a $12 million housing and employment dream a reality. When community members are invited to the table from the beginning, private and public leaders work together, and a hospital looks outside its walls, storms are cleared and the boom of opportunity echoes.