Child Poverty Collaborative One to One program is months away from launching

Goal to help hundreds of families this year

CINCINNATI -- Hamilton County children living in poverty could have a new source of support by Oct. 1.

That's the date by which the Child Poverty Collaborative aims to have its One to One family-coaching program up and running, United Way of Greater Cincinnati CEO Rob Reifsnyder said Wednesday.

Ultimately the goal of One to One is to be part of helping lift 5,000 families and 10,000 children out of poverty within five years. Leaders of the collaborative and United Way, which manages the group, are anxious to get started.

"We'll try to be working with hundreds of families even this year yet," Reifsnyder said.

Rob Reifsnyder

The Child Poverty Collaborative unveiled the One to One program last October, and the poverty-fighting group and United Way have been working to develop the framework ever since. 

RELATED: United Way to redirect millions to fight poverty

The organizations still are figuring out how much the program will cost and how it will be funded, he said.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, one of the Child Poverty Collaborative's co-chairs, told WCPO that he's working to help raise $6 million in new funding for the group's poverty reduction work.

Reifsnyder said some of that funding likely would help fund the work of One to One.

"We don't want to say what it will cost because we don't know yet," he said.

United Way's State of the Community report released during its annual luncheon Wednesday underscored just how big a problem poverty is for the region.

Nearly 609,500 people in Greater Cincinnati live in households with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold. That threshold in 2015 was $24,036 for a family of four, and experts have said families need at least double that amount to be self-sufficient.

In 2007, Hamilton County had roughly 236,000 residents living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. By 2015, that number had grown to nearly 272,000.

RELATED: Child poverty in Tri-State remains high

The region's high rate of childhood poverty, in particular, prompted the creation of the Child Poverty Collaborative in late 2015.

Although the One to One program and some of the collaborative's other strategies were announced last October, it is taking time to implement them because United Way leaders are meeting individually with more than 100 different local nonprofit organizations to explain what United Way's new strategies will mean for them and their work, said Teresa Hoelle, the organization's vice president of marketing.

"We need to explain where we're going and how we'll get there," she said.

Several local nonprofits already have coaching programs in place and likely will be part of the One to One program, Reifsnyder added. The difference is that One to One aims to work with families for years as they work to become self-sufficient, he said, whereas many coaching programs now are more "episodic" when families run into trouble.

More information about the Child Poverty Collaborative is available online.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/povertyTo read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

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