Building a stronger neighborhood: Hope Center for Families set to open

Nov. 8—A new community center with multiple social services housed under the same roof will open Wednesday in the Dayton View Triangle neighborhood.

The Hope Center for Families, located at 1816 Harvard Blvd. , will provide daycare, pediatric care and resources for parents and family members to improve their career prospects.

"We hope with this we'll see a stronger neighborhood with greater assets, some of which are created by the people themselves as they have more opportunities for home ownership," said Vanessa Ward, president of Omega Community Development Corp.

Omega Community Development Corp. will operate the center and is partnering with Sinclair Community College and Dayton Children's Hospital.

The Omega CDC opened the Omega Senior Lofts for low-income seniors in the same area last year.

The $11 million investment on 30 acres of land in northwest Dayton comes at a time when many organizations and companies have left that part of the city. About $5.6 million of that money was fundraised for the project from the Dayton community, according to the Omega CDC. The remainder came from a long-term loan and new market tax credit deals.

Ward said the center will help bring many generations of people out of poverty. She said many charities have focused on serving children, and that's also at the heart of the Omega Baptist Church work. But it's not enough, she said.

"It's one thing to serve those children, but then they have to go home to homes that are broken and really could use as much care and support as those children are receiving," Ward said.

She said the model they are using in the center helps to move all families toward a better life.

"Our vision is to reinvent the path to health for children in our region and beyond," said Debbie Feldman, president and CEO at Dayton Children's. "By partnering in the Hope Center for Families and the organizations inside, we can remove some barriers and truly impact in a child's health today and for generations to come."

Steve Johnson, president of Sinclair College, said the college was "honored to be a part of this initiative."

"As a proud partner of the Hope Center for Families, Sinclair College is advancing our mission to find the need and endeavor to meet it by providing college credit and non-credit classes, workforce development services, health screenings and community health services delivered by Sinclair students, and early childhood education services," Johnson said.

David E. Bowman, president of The Ohlmann Group, who is helping to market the project, said the investment was needed in the area.

"It's introducing a really innovative model for really helping to eradicate poverty and at the same time, lift up the people of that community from within," he said.

Ward and her husband, Daryl Ward, have ministered in that part of the city at Omega Baptist Church for several decades, and she said they have witnessed the gradual disinvestment from the area.