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Orange County Health Department receives statewide awards for Gateway Village Collaborative

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The Orange County Health Department was recently awarded two awards for their work at Gateway Village, in Hillsborough.

The Orange County Health Department received two awards on Nov. 1 for their success with the Gateway Village Collaborative, a group of community organizations that work together to provide social services to residents of Gateway Village, an affordable housing complex in Hillsborough. 

The OCHD was awarded the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Child Health Recognition Award and the Dr. Sarah Taylor Morrow Health Department of the Year award for their health programming, specifically the programming that focuses on children. 

Gateway Village is a 64-unit apartment complex led by the OCHD in collaboration with the County's Department of Social Services.

The department worked with the OCHD, community organizations and nonprofits to gauge the needs of families in Hillsborough and provide them with stable and safe housing, along with access to services, education and healthcare options.

“The awards were monetary and they go to supporting the community, use it to host various community support the community,” Dana Crews, the director of Family Success Alliance. “We use it for educational materials to support the tutoring program that New Hope Elementary uses.”

The Family Success Alliance is a program created by Orange County about six years ago to connect families who are in poverty with resources and assist in life transitions.

Along with the social services department and OCHD, the Hillsborough Police Department worked with the families in the Gateway Village community.

“Our big thing, as far as that goes, is as far as working with them, it's obviously trying to meet the needs” Scott Foster, a sergeant at the Hillsborough Police Department, said.  

Hillsborough police help with running events for the children, ranging from field trips to school drives, Foster said. 

“We try to think of specifically the police part, we try to think of creative things that we can do, just to let the neighborhood, especially the children, see that every time we show up, it's not going to be a negative experience,” he said.

In October 2022, Gateway Village residents were asked for input on what access issues they had. Residents expressed a need for onsite support and services.

“There have been lots of barriers for some time in the community because it's so small, the community is close,” Crews said. 

As a result, the OCHD leased one of the Gateway Village units to use as an onsite resource for support and for aid in finding and accessing different services.

“So much of government focuses on downstream problems — let's make sure that children have the support and the resources in there," Jamezetta Bedford, chair of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners, said. "That means supporting their parents so that they can do well in school so that they're healthy."

Bedford has worked with OCHD and involved organizations to support families with transportation and health access barriers.

The purpose of the Gateway Village Collaborative is to bring local agencies together with a common goal of supporting the residents — whether the support is in necessities or services. 

“The biggest thing is just to provide support for community members that are facing numerous systemic barriers, just ensuring that they have access to resources and transportation is often effective for the community and having resources on site has been very beneficial,” Crews said.

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com


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