Providence House


Providence House to open second campus on East Side

Posted April 17, 2019 in Articles

Providence House, a crisis nursery, will open a second campus in Cleveland's Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood, growing its capacity to care for children and families in crisis.

With the second campus, Providence House will increase the number of infants and children it serves annually to more than 700, and expand services to more than 1,000 parents and caregivers.

Providence House's "Giving Hope for the Phuture" — $13 million campaign to support the new campus and sustain the organization into the future — has raised around $2.5 million to date, including leadership gifts from Saint Luke's Foundation and campaign chairs Karen Dolan, a trustee of the Providence House board, and her husband, Paul Dolan, chairman and CEO of the Cleveland Indians.

"Providence House has always responded to the needs of our community's most vulnerable members, children whose families are in crisis," said Natalie Leek-Nelson, Providence House CEO and president, in a prepared statement. "It's our priority to meet the tremendous demand in our community for our services and be accessible to the children who are at risk of abuse and neglect. We're so thankful for the gifts from Saint Luke's and the Dolans at this early stage in our fundraising campaign, as it demonstrates their confidence in Providence House delivering needed services to our East Side community."

Providence House's current Ohio City campus serves about 350 children a year. Due to limited space, the organization last year couldn't admit 170 infants and children at its West Side campus, according to a news release. Roughly 70% of those unserved lived on the East Side of Cleveland, prompting the organization to look for a second location to serve those children and families in their neighborhood.

"The board and the staff really rose to the challenge and said, 'OK, we need to go where the children are,' " Leek-Nelson said in an interview. "And we began a process of just looking at what our options were for facilities on the East Side."

Renovations, addition planned

Providence House in January bought the historic Weizer Building located at East 118th Street and Buckeye Road. Plans for the new campus include a $3 million renovation of the existing building and a $5 million, 7,000-square-foot addition to house a 24-bed crisis nursery residential wing.

The Weizer Building will house Providence House's administrative offices, a children's education center (complete with classrooms and activity spaces, a gymnasium, medical exam rooms and more) and a family resiliency center, where families can access case management, connect to community resources and visit their children. The site will also have playgrounds for the kids, including basketball courts and grassy areas.

Pending reaching fundraising milestones, the goal is to begin renovation of the Weizer Building in June and begin occupying it with administrative and family services in October. New construction of the residential nursery is slated to begin next spring with an eight-month build, aiming to have children in the building in late 2020/early 2021.

The plan also includes some minor work on the West Side campus to address wear and tear. Moving administrative offices from the West to East Side also frees up space on Providence House's original campus to give people more appropriate, confidential workspaces.

"Saint Luke's Foundation is proud to support Providence House in their expansion to the East Side," Anne C. Goodman, Saint Luke's Foundation president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. "Their work aligns well with our mission to improve and transform the health and well-being of individuals, families and the neighborhood surrounding Saint Luke's. We're excited to see the impact Providence House will have in this neighborhood and beyond."

Once the renovation and new building are completed, Providence House anticipates it will hire an additional 40-45 new employees, the majority of whom will be full-time.

"What's really kind of cool about those positions is 30 or so of those jobs are jobs we train individuals to," Leek-Nelson said. "They don't need special certification or a degree. They're child-care providers, housekeeping, maintenance. And so we're really hoping we can generate some live-work opportunities in the Buckeye Neighborhood, which unfortunately is one of the neighborhoods with the highest rate of poverty and the highest rate of unemployment in Cleveland."

Neighborhood catalyst

Providence House hopes to help catalyze future development and partnerships in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods, according to the release.

The new campus will serve an additional 325 children in the East Side Crisis Nursery with free, noncustodial care and emergency shelter to children newborn through 12 years old whose families are in crisis. Providence House also offers families a range of services, including, according to the release: family preservation services to support family stability for parents/guardians with children in the East Side Crisis Nursery; onsite aftercare program to support families reunited with their children to offer continued guidance and resources; and a community-based family resource center and basic needs support programs for families referred by local partners.

"While the children are with us, we're very holistically working with the children — their medical wellness, their developmental milestones, school readiness, school enrollment, all that work," Leek-Nelson said. "And while we're doing that with the children, our social workers are working intensively with the parents to address homelessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, and sometimes it's a combination of a bunch of those factors. And so really, our goal is to keep that family together by creating a support network that will be with them when their children return home and continue to see them remain safe and stable."

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