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Fighting childhood poverty by coordinating social services

Fighting childhood poverty by coordinating social services (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - “We can't keep doing things the same old way.”

That was one conclusion from the work of Cincinnati's Child Poverty collaborative. But what's a new way?

There were provocative remarks from Reverend Damon Lynch, Junior during Local 12's town hall forum on child poverty.

“We've been studied and analyzed enough, and we have people being brought in to administer the poverty,” he said.

While not everyone agrees with that, there was little doubt there are plenty of well-intentioned agencies fighting an uncoordinated fight. One study said the Tri-State area has 2,000 agencies working to fight poverty; many doing their own thing. But there an example of coordination, which perhaps can teach others.

CityLink Center, in the West End, is a one-stop location for social services. There are academic and training classes, counseling, clothing, optical and dental, family programs. They’re all under one roof, efficient and just more decent.

Johnmark Oudersluys, CityLink director, said, “How many of us love to ask others for help and how many of us love walking into a place we don't know and tell our deficits in order to solicit assistance? And so we can't imagine that people faced with a really difficult system to manage are going to have the perseverance to knock on door after door after door.”

Cathy Ruppel was laid off earlier in 2016, and is now taking budgeting classes and IT training at city link. She said having everything in one place was really great.

CityLink helped 750 people in 2016. A small piece of the puzzle but you have to start somewhere.

The 4-year-old City Link center is funded by churches, foundations, and individual contributions. There is no government money although the city, schools, and health department do provide some of the services.

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