Even though many people are familiar with HandsOn Central Ohio through their 2-1-1 information and referral line, HOCO has a direct connection with many organizations in the community. As I reach the end of my fellowship with the Resource Management Department, I find that I am still discovering new ways that HOCO impacts Central Ohio. For example, did you know there are many additional benefits offered in connection with the 2-1-1 line? HOCO is a crucial partner in programs like the Homeowner Helpline and different task forces. There are many ways that HOCO is interacting with the community and I have been fortunate enough to experience some firsthand.
My visits began with Homes on the Hill, an agency that offers vital programs such as foreclosure prevention counseling, homeownership education and affordable housing development. Through one-on-one counseling and group classes, they have helped more than 500 families avoid foreclosure! Through the Homeowner Helpline, our 2-1-1 call line is able to set appointments for callers who need housing assistance and put them directly into the agency’s database. HOCO has been able to distribute calls equitably among agencies that focus on this area, which creates an imperatively organized, efficient and timely way to help the community.
In connection with housing assistance, I attended the Save Our Homes Task Force meeting at Consumer Credit Counseling Services. Here, representatives from numerous organizations met to talk about the current housing crisis in Columbus and the state of Ohio. Similarly, I also visited the Amethyst-Jefferson Avenue Apartments, which offer housing and treatment to women recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction. This was a beautiful new facility where Carol Hayden, the admissions coordinator and counselor, met and spoke to a group of us about the mission of Amethyst and the programs they run. This was a stop on the Beyond the Freeway tour, another benefit offered by HOCO. This is a tour that takes groups around Columbus shedding light on the issues of poverty our community faces.
It has been an exiting few weeks! I am enjoying visiting different agencies in the community and learning more about what they do and how they work with HOCO. One common thing I am hearing: HOCO is offering essential services for these programs to maintain their success. HOCO’s impact on the community through these agencies is evident and is showing me their reach beyond the Call Center. What’s neat is that these are only a handful of the benefits HOCO offers and agencies they work with—their reach is actually far greater!
Laine – HandsOn Central Ohio