The Orange County Health Department (OCHD) is pleased to announce the receipt of two awards during the 2023 North Carolina Public Health’s Association’s annual conference for the work of the Gateway Village Collaborative. Gateway Village is a 64-unit property in Hillsborough, NC. OCHD was awarded the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Child Health Recognition Award, designated for local health departments that have innovative programs addressing health outcomes for children. It also won the Dr. Sarah Taylor Morrow Health Department of the Year award, given to health departments for outstanding programs and efforts.
The Gateway Collaborative is led by OCHD in collaboration Orange County Department of Social Services (DSS). The group is comprised of representatives from the Orange County Housing Department, New Hope Elementary School, the Town of Hillsborough, the Town of Hillsborough’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the Hillsborough Police Department. As a collaborative, the group is working to demonstrate recurring patterns that then serve as a guide to help make decisions based on specific themes of interest from the community. The Gateway Village Collaborative is working to identify and improve metrics around housing stability, health outcomes, financial stability, tenant safety, access to services and education.
In October 2022, residents of Gateway Village were asked to complete a community needs assessment so the county and partnering agencies could understand how to serve the community. There were many common needs identified during the analysis, with the biggest needs being identified as access to services and support onsite. As a result, OCHD in collaboration with DSS were able to lease an apartment in the community to serve as a resource center in the Gateway Village community to ensure access to resources and services and to support social and emotional well-being by creating a space for community gathering for residents.
DSS and OCHD currently staff the center and have partnered with various other systems and community-based agencies to implement programming to support the needs of residents. Services include workforce development, academic support for children by New Hope Elementary staff and administrators, parent support groups, reading programs hosted by local libraries, a diaper bank, support from the Orange Congregations in Mission (OCIM) program for food and clothing support, and access to direct economic services from staff at DSS. The Hillsborough Police Department actively engages with the community to address safety concerns and to foster stronger relationships with residents of the community. The collaborative has also worked very closely with the property managers to address safety matters, to improve the condition of the apartments, and to engage with local law enforcement.