The Refuge, Impact Cleveland partner to help Blythe Oldfield

By BRIAN GRAVES brian.graves@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 6/7/17

Two of the communities’ nonprofit organizations are making significant changes in people’s lives and neighborhoods.

The executive directors of The Refuge and Impact Cleveland addressed the …

This item is available in full to subscribers

The Refuge, Impact Cleveland partner to help Blythe Oldfield

Posted

Two of the communities’ nonprofit organizations are making significant changes in people’s lives and neighborhoods.

The executive directors of The Refuge and Impact Cleveland addressed the Public Affairs Committee of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Tuesday morning.

Both organizations have been focused on the Blythe Oldfield community.

Terry Johns spoke of the achievements of The Refuge’s efforts to get people trained and into the workforce.

“We have taken on a number of projects over the years, but the thing that has excited us the most has been these last few years since Impact Cleveland moved in,” Johns said, noting the “significant support” of the United Way in making these projects possible.

He explained the mission of The Refuge is to empower individuals and families to find substantiality for their lives and their families.

“We entered this as a particular partner in this community development initiative in our area,” Johns said. “We partner very closely with Impact Cleveland and we make every attempt to work with one another in such a way as to support one another’s work. There is some crossover, but no duplication.”

He noted the idea is to ensure families no longer have to depend on benefits, “but are able to find living-wage employment that will allow them to get on their own feet and pay their own way.”

“We had some success in that,” Johns said.

The Refuge provides welding training in association with Cleveland State, and Johns said there have been 60 who have trained through that program.

Out of those 60, one has entered the CSCC welding program full-time, three have moved out of state, and two have stopped communicating.

“That represents a 90 percent success rate,” Johns said.

The collective income of those 60 before training represented $217,836.

“After training, that income number went to $1,352,540,” Johns said.

Dustin Tommey said Impact Cleveland, from the beginning, wanted to establish its own brand under the United Way “and become its own organization.”

“For three and a half years, we have been under the umbrella of the United Way and I like to say, we are like ... if Habitat for Humanity and United Way had a baby,” he said with a chuckle.

“There are a lot of boots-on-the -ground, physical work, but at the same time we are collaborating and leveraging resources in the neighborhood,” Tommey said.

He said the first year was filled with listening to the neighborhood.

“We said we were not coming in with all of the answers, we are coming in to listen to what the neighborhood wants,” he said. “We stood on the shoulders of the work of The Refuge, who had been in the neighborhood for four or five years.”

He said both organizations share “a very close philosophy about development and communities.”

“That makes us good partners with them,” Tommey said.

Tommey also said Impact Cleveland is preparing for a new and bolder move in helping to provide housing in the area, but said details would be coming later this year.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

X

Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE

Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE

We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.

If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.

Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE