Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Partners Focus on Columbus’s South Side
Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Nationwide) is one of the largest nonprofit pediatric healthcare networks in the nation, serving communities in 37 counties across Ohio. Located in Columbus, the hospital’s main campus is in the South Side neighborhood, a high-poverty area historically plagued by blight. In 2008, when Nationwide began expanding its main campus, the hospital explored ways to extend its efforts to support population health through neighborhood revitalization. Nationwide joined the local faith-based organization Community Development for All People (CD4AP) to launch the Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families (HNHF) initiative to revitalize the South Side, transform the impoverished neighborhood into a mixed-income community, and improve residents’ health and well-being. The initiative includes many participants working in the impact areas of affordable housing, education, health and wellness, safe and accessible neighborhoods, and workforce development. According to Angela Mingo, Nationwide’s director of community relations, the affordable housing component forms the cornerstone of the initiative and is headed by Nationwide and CD4AP.
The Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families Realty Collaborative
A leader in each of HNHF’s five impact areas, Nationwide partners with CD4AP in the housing impact area, which has improved nearly 300 houses. The partners’ efforts are coordinated through a subsidiary of CD4AP, the Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families Realty Collaborative, also called Healthy Homes. The collaborative’s board consists of leaders from CD4AP and the hospital and an owner of a Healthy Homes house. Nationwide employees staff Healthy Homes, and the hospital has contributed $6 million to housing redevelopment. Other major funders are the United Way of Central Ohio, the Columbus Department of Development, and JPMorgan Chase. Healthy Homes builds and sells new houses, renovates existing houses, and issues grants through its home repair program. The collaborative focuses on supporting existing homeowners and bringing in new homebuyers.
Buyers, who earn no more than 120 percent of the area median income (AMI), must qualify for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage and complete an 8-hour, HUD-certified homebuyer education class. The newly constructed and rehabilitated houses feature health-promoting materials such as paint and recycled carpeting with low levels of volatile organic compounds to improve air quality. In addition, the houses typically include features that reduce operating costs and promote environmental responsibility, such as tankless water heaters, rain barrels, solar tubes, and energy-efficient windows. In 2016, Healthy Homes began the You Design It program, which allows homebuyers to work with the developer to customize newly constructed houses.
Through its home repair program, the collaborative provides grants to South Side homeowners for exterior improvements. To qualify, homeowners earning no more than 120 percent of AMI must take a two-hour home maintenance class and agree to live in the house for at least three years after repairs are completed. In addition, property taxes and any mortgage payments must not be delinquent. The collaborative makes approximately 10 home repair grants per year, averaging $12,000 per house, for repairs ranging from new paint and siding to the replacement of windows and roofs. The repairs not only make houses more attractive, increasing neighborhood appeal and property values, but they also improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs.
The Residences at Career Gateway
While affordable housing is the cornerstone of the initiative, workforce development is another significant HNHF impact area. To address both simultaneously, Nationwide and CD4AP recently partnered on the Residences at Career Gateway. Because the project was not located in HNHF’s service area, it was not a Realty Collaborative development; instead, it was developed by CD4AP’s partner, NRP Group, with funding from Nationwide. The collaborative, however, chose to extend its service area to include lots across the street from the Residences at Gateway so that it could improve the housing stock adjacent to the development.
The Residences at Career Gateway is a 58-unit workforce housing development with space for job training. The project’s $12 million development cost was financed primarily through low-income housing tax credit equity. The affordable housing consists of 14 townhouses and 44 two-bedroom apartments for households earning less than 60 percent of AMI. The development opened in August 2017 and was nearly fully leased by October, reflecting the high demand for affordable rental housing in the neighborhood. The development also contains a 2,400-square-foot job training center for Career Gateway and South Side residents. Nationwide is the lead training partner at the center, which teaches job skills for general employment and for specific local job openings.
Expanding Affordable Housing Opportunities
The Residences at Career Gateway was HNHF’s first foray into rental housing. The HNHF initiative had been launched soon after the start of the Great Recession, when homeownership was a particular concern among South Side residents. While continuing its concentration on homeownership, the Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families Realty Collaborative recognizes that the neighborhood also needs affordable rental housing. In late September 2017, the collaborative announced the Healthy Rental Homes program, which will build and improve scattered-site units for rent to households earning up to 80 percent of AMI. HNHF increased its service area when the new Healthy Rental Homes program began, and today the initiative serves more than 50 square blocks in South Side.
Interview with Angela Mingo, 4 October 2017; Correspondence from Angela Mingo, 25 October and 15 November 2017; Nationwide Children’s Hospital. n.d. “About Us.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Nationwide Children’s Hospital. n.d. “Our History.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Healthy Homes. n.d. “Healthy Homes.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Nationwide Children’s Hospital. n.d. “Affordable Housing.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Nationwide Children’s Hospital. n.d. “Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families.” Accessed 22 September 2017.×
Healthy Homes. n.d. “Healthy Homes.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Interview with Angela Mingo, 4 October 2017; Nationwide Children’s Hospital. n.d. “Affordable Housing.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Correspondence from Angela Mingo, 15 November 2017.×
Healthy Homes. n.d. “Healthy Homes Home Repair Program.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Interview with Angela Mingo, 4 October 2017; Nationwide Children’s Hospital. n.d. “Affordable Housing.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Correspondence from Angela Mingo, 15 November 2017.×
Correspondence from Angela Mingo, 25 October and 15 November 2017; Interview with Angela Mingo, 4 October 2017.×
Interview with Angela Mingo, 4 October 2017; Nationwide Children’s Hospital. n.d. “Affordable Housing.” Accessed 22 September 2017; Nationwide Children’s Hospital. 2016. “Community Development For All People, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, City of Columbus & NRP Group Celebrate Launch of The Residences at Career Gateway, a $12 Million Workforce Housing Community,” news, 30 September. Accessed 29 September 2017; Community Development for All People. n.d. “Training Center.” Accessed 9 October 2017; JPMorgan Chase. 2017. “JPMorgan Chase Announces $1.5 Million Commitment to Support Affordable Housing on Columbus’s South Side,” press release, 21 September. Accessed 9 October 2017.×
Interview with Angela Mingo, 4 October 2017.×