The housing market can be tough to navigate for one person alone, but even tougher for someone with little ones relying on them. Single mothers in Columbus may face enormous obstacles when it comes to qualifying for and attaining quality housing in areas that are safe and in desirable school districts.
Move to PROSPER is a program that tackles that obstacle head-on, providing opportunities for single mothers with one to three children to move to apartments in the highly sought-after Gahanna, Olentangy, Dublin, and Hilliard school districts. These apartments are safe, healthy, and located in “high opportunity” areas, setting the family up for success. Families will receive assistance in the form of housing discounts, coaching, workshops, and evaluation.
Move to PROSPER believes that feeling secure and being surrounded by a positive community atmosphere will help alleviate stress and increase success rates for both parents and children. The program includes three years of rental support, access to the designated school district, and assistance in integration into the new school system and neighborhood. The program was piloted with families able to move to their new apartments in the summer of 2018.
Oakwood Management Company manages many of the communities that are options for the families to move into and thus, is an engaged partner in Move to PROSPER’s success. The company actively supports the efforts to immerse the families in their new communities. Ken Knox, Director of Operations for Oakwood Management Company, said, “With a combination of both financial support and behavioral coaching, participants who complete the Move to PROSPER program should be more equipped to access housing in high-opportunity areas without long-term assistance.”
The criteria for the program help to identify families who are most in need of this type of assistance. Qualifying applicants must be single female heads of household, over the age of 18, with one to three children under the age of 13, at least one of whom is in school. The participant cannot be a part of the Housing Choice Voucher program and must fall in a certain income bracket, depending on the number of members in their household. Their children must also be eligible for Medicaid and the mothers need to have their own reliable transportation.
Once in the program, participants are required to complete a certain number of workshops and coaching sessions, as well as complete surveys and participate in interviews. The data gathered is used by the Ohio State University to help further similar opportunities for other families.
Oakwood is proud to support Move to PROSPER in its efforts to change the lives of the families that need it most. These families become members of our communities, and, in turn, members of the Oakwood family.
Find out how you can support Move to PROSPER on their website here.