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New neighborhood center in Warrensville Heights brings services to those in need

Nonprofit Step Forward opening neighborhood opportunity center
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Posted at 5:01 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 18:38:01-05

WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — For the nonprofit Step Forward — location matters when it comes to helping those in need. And a new neighborhood opportunity center in Warrensville Heights has been months and months in the making. The grand opening is on Wednesday.

“Pretty much this is a one-stop shop,” said Miriam Bridget, site coordinator. “You can come here for emergency services like food, clothing, we have a full workforce development department the helps people get jobs, very good paying jobs.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg on services they help with. They operate off of poverty guidelines in who they serve, but the COVID pandemic made it so their guidelines are much broader and they are able to serve more people, Bridget added.

For Ashley Hucakbee, the baby and mommy support group has been a lifesaver.

“They were just devoted and let me know they were there to help me, it’s a great program,” she said.

Ashley is pregnant with her third child and says having the help from Step Forward has made a huge difference even before her new addition is born.

“It’s been really helpful, they call me frequently, check on me, ask about my doctor’s appointment, educate me on different things,” Ashley said.

Data shows that from 2014 to 2019, the city of Warrensville Heights saw a 30% increase in poverty.

That’s why they decided to put the center here — to meet the needs right where they are.

For Warrensville Heights Mayor Brad Sellers, one of the hardest parts of dealing with poverty in his city is getting people to believe they can succeed.

“Because sometimes, they have not seen models of success,” Sellers said.

Having this center here means cutting out the cost and logistics of transportation and childcare for so many.

And help at home is one of the steps to making sure they can succeed.

“We don’t try to be anything more than we are, we just try to do what we can and do it well,” Sellers said.

For more information on Step Forward and available services, you can click here.