OGDEN – The Ogden Civic Action Network (OgdenCAN) will receive a $ 300,000 contribution from Intermountain Healthcare over the next three years to advance its community development work in Ogden.
OgdenCAN is a group of organizations, partners, allies and more than 15,000 residents of Ogden working together to improve housing, education, financial stability and health-related outcomes in the East Central Neighborhood in Ogden, Utah.
“This award helps us build the expanded network of executives in Ogden’s East Central Neighborhood that we at OgdenCAN have long envisioned,” said Brenda Kowalewski, CEO of OgdenCAN. She also serves as Weber State University’s associate provost of high impact programs and faculty development. “Residents are now being given more tools to access better health, housing, education and financial security.”
Officials say the COVID-19 pandemic has widened disparities among communities across the United States.
In a press release, officials said food insecurity rose from 11.8% to 14.5% among adults in Weber County due to the pandemic. They added that the number of food insecure children in Weber County rose from 14.4% to 19.5%.
In Ogden City, adults 25 and older who don’t have a high school diploma or GED make up 16.3% of the population, according to a press release.
In a press release, officials say those who haven’t earned at least a high school diploma or GED have had lower median household incomes, resulting in a lower ability to get housing.
Weber County has a shortage of 2,710 affordable rental units for parishioners with household incomes 30% or less of Weber County’s median income, according to official sources.
Intermountain officials say their focus is on “addressing the social determinants of health – the non-medical factors that can play a role in a community’s health – that play a role in their contribution strategy. Transportation problems, food insecurity, and housing instability all affect health. ”
Intermountain launched a three-year demonstration project in Washington County and Weber County with community partners in 2018 to address social issues.
“We know that health is more than access to high quality care. Access to safe housing, education and other basic needs are essential health factors, “said Mikelle Moore, senior vice president and chief community health officer, Intermountain Healthcare.
“We want to show that supporting career paths, digital solutions, food infrastructure and fair housing can lead to positive health outcomes. The work that OgdenCAN and its partners are leading is inspiring. “
OgdenCAN uses what is known as a “collective action approach” to revitalize the East Central neighborhood.
According to official sources, this approach is a long-term commitment from institutions, stakeholders, partners and members of the community, all of whom are dedicated to a patient discovery process that follows the energy of collaboration.
OgdenCAN’s collective approach to action was put to the test when the Ogden School District began buying Chromebooks for every student at the start of the pandemic. “Discovery is an essential part of our work,” said Kowalewski. “We learned that many students had laptops, but not all of them had Internet access. Our partners have been quick to purchase internet hotspots and deliver them to those in need to ensure vulnerable community members have access to the education they need. “The Ogden School District recently announced Ogden SD LTE, a city-wide network that enables all students to access the Internet at home.
Learn more about the work OgdenCAN is leading at weber.edu/ogdencan