CityLink is Growing While Poverty is Shrinking
The world still has not fully recovered from the economic slump of the last decade. Many people that lost their jobs were simply not able to recover, while others found it nearly impossible to find a decent paying job. It is for reasons like that that we are a Buy Here Pay Here dealer in Cincinnati. Cincinnati got hit pretty hard, with more than 80,000 people in our proud city living in poverty. In these difficult times, however, organizations and people rise to the challenge of helping those in need. For our Cincinnatians who are down on their luck, CityLink opens up its doors. “Before I went to CityLink, my life was a rollercoaster. I was depressed and not sure what to do,” John, a client of CityLink Center says. “It didn’t make sense not to try it out.” John is only one of many people who have utilized CityLink. Let’s take a closer look to see what it is all about.
Back in November of 2012, CityLink opened its doors. Inside, people find a welcoming place, lit up with smiles and all the resources someone would need to get their life back on track set up under their roof. The three main areas that CityLink has partnered up with to try and tackle are financial eduction with SmartMoney, employment assistance with CincinnatiWork, and education with Cincinnati Public Schools and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. Anyone over 18 years of age, that is 200 percent below the poverty level and is not using is eligible to walk into CityLink and attend an information session. If they still feel eager to make a change, they meet with a service coordinator to plan out goals specific to each persons individual needs. While some only need a few weeks to get back on track, others can stick around CityLink for up to a year in order to get a job, a GED and footing on the road to financial stability.
“It’s difficult for someone to walk into a handful of different places and continuously ask for help,” says Johnmark Oudersluys, Executive Director of CityLink. “Here, someone comes in, only has one case manager that knows everything that is going on, and they get to keep coming to a place that has friendly faces and people that remember them.” It its short time in Cincinnati, CityLink has helped hundreds of people, but are looking to work with more on their five-acre plot. Their annual goal is 1,000 clients, and to bring the number of volunteers up to 500. The amount of people they can help is grows hand-in-hand with how many volunteers are there. The vision is massive and the goals are lofty, but with a successful year behind them and a growing team of volunteers and supporters, CityLink is on the way to changing the face of poverty in Cincinnati.
“We are trying to create true and lasting change for lives and this community,” Oudersluys says. “If the parents of a family can get their lives and homes stabilized, that’s going to trickle down to their children and change the future of the community.”