As anchor institutions across the nation consider how to accelerate their own efforts to drive institutional alignment with community needs, Career Gateway Homes emerges as an important example of how these critical and needed strategies foster economic security and mobility through direct investment in affordable housing and supportive services.
A partnership of Community Development for All People, NRP Group LLC, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital with Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation (COWIC) and Columbus State Community College, this development features 58-units of affordable housing located in South Side, Columbus, Ohio. Pioneering a new model to provide a variety of quality, energy efficient, housing options (mix of one, two, and three-bedroom units, including townhomes with attached garages), and workforce training for residents, this development uniquely connects affordable housing to the larger context of systemic economic transformation.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital began its systematic investment in Columbus’ South Side in 2008 through a strategic partnership with Community Development for All People, a faith and place-based Community Development Corporation (CDC). Focusing their efforts in the census tracts surrounding the anchor institution, the partnership launched its Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families Initiative with the goals of better aligning their institutional resources—like hiring, purchasing, and investments — to create positive health and quality of life outcomes. In the past few years, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has hired 325 employees from the South Side neighborhood it calls home and some of the programming offered at Residences at Career Gateway help to train residents who will hopefully become future workers at the hospital, including those in environmental services and nutrition services, as well as patient-care assistance and information technology.
At a time when workforce housing models are being developed for and marketed to teachers, emergency personnel, firefighters, police, and other career professionals in a growing Central Ohio region, the project represented an important opportunity to leverage the housing credit program near a major regional job center to support people of wider range of incomes.