History and Relationship of Families Flourish and Ohio State
How We Began
Families Flourish was created as a program called Move to PROSPER, an initiative of faculty in the City and Regional Planning program at The Ohio State University, with community members and organizations from across Central Ohio.
The program began in 2016 under the leadership of Amy Klaben, who received support from Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing and Neighborworks America, as well as The Columbus Foundation, The Jewish Foundation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University and United Way of Central Ohio to initiate a program to expand the availability of affordable housing beyond the Housing Choice Voucher program.
Amy has over 30 years’ experience in affordable housing development and management. Discussions with Steve Heiser, Senior Advisor at SVN/Wilson Commercial Group, inspired them to talk with local landlords about their willingness to not only reduce rents for a short period but alter their applicant criteria so that they could participate in a privately provided rent support program.
Amy reached out to Dr. Rachel Kleit, who at the time was the Section Head and Professor of City and Regional Planning at Ohio State and affordable housing researcher, to be a partner in developing and evaluating what eventually became Families Flourish.
Identifying a Need, Developing a Plan
During the initial planning period, the program’s founders consulted at length with other units within Ohio State, including representatives of OSU Extension, the College of Education and Human Ecology, the College of Public Health, the College of Nursing, and the College of Social Work. The program owes a debt of gratitude to Dean Emeritus Tom Gregoire of the College of Social Work for his in kind support of the development of the coaching toolbox and participant program model that supports the people who choose to participate in this unique program.
Move to PROSPER, now known as Families Flourish, began as an initiative of the City and Regional Planning program at The Ohio State University. Families Flourish is now a fully independent 501c3 nonprofit organization.