He reports that the "truly unique" building, designed by a Cuban architect, also offers extra room for growth. Local architects from Brashear and Bolton have agreed to help design the interior, according to the center's Web site.
Leonard had hoped to open the center by summer, but had to push the date back to September because funding has been sluggish (see "Hip Hop Hope," issue of Dec. 3-9, 2003).
"Young people in this city have been promised so much and given so little, and that makes it so tough for us to push our date back," Leonard says.
But he's undeterred. He's lined up an impressive advisory board that includes consultant/philosopher and "community engagement" guru Peter Block (see "Peter's Principles," issue of Sept. 3-9, 2003).
Leonard also reports on the National Hip Hop Political Convention in Newark, N.J., which he attended along with 33 other Cincinnati delegates -- many of whom were rabble-rousers from the Cincinnati League of Pissed Off Voters (see "We're Pissed Off and We Vote," issue of June 2-8).
Visit the Hip Hop Youth Arts Center's Web site at www.natiyouthcenter.org to see photos and donate.
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The Drop-Inn Center's new Homeless Individual Partnership (HIP) Team hit the streets July 12. The "HIP" Team's six case managers will provide much-needed attention and continuity of care for about 15 homeless individuals each, according to Pat Clifford, general coordinator of the Drop-Inn Center.
He says the new approach will address two problems. The first is vague estimates of Cincinnati's number of homeless.
"We didn't have a good, system-wide, unduplicated, in-depth count of who we're actually talking about," Clifford says.
Second, the new program targets homeless individuals, who have not traditionally received the case management that families in distress receive.
"(Social service agencies) tended to treat single individuals more like one-size-fits-all, rather than with individualized plans," Clifford says.
The personalized approach will better serve homeless individuals dealing with issues deeper than just needing a referral or a temporary place to stay, he says.
Even though the Drop-Inn Center has been alternately praised and vilified for providing what Clifford calls "three hots and a cot" -- meals and temporary shelter -- this is an extension of its further mission to engage clients in social services.
However, the new program has been in the works for a while; it isn't a response to the lukewarm welcome extended by the new city-approved developers for Over-the-Rhine or the rumored threat to move the homeless shelter, Clifford says (see "Taking Over the Park," issue of July 14-20).
"It's not the most glamorous thing," Clifford says. "It's not building a new building, it's system-work."
It's the careful, time-consuming work of "nurturing their motivation to want to change," he says.
The HIP Team also gives Brent Chasteen, the outreach worker whom Downtown Cincinnati Inc. hired to help homeless people, another tool for referral (see "Change for a Change," issue of Nov. 25-31).
All The News That Fits: Leads, entrails and tales we couldn't get to.