Weber County is taking a new collaborative effort to tackle intergenerational poverty.
It’s a problem the county has struggled with since the end of its days as a railroad hub.
“That goes back to when the railroad was here, and the boom of the railroad and the bust of the railroad,” said Weber County Commissioner Scott Jenkins. “It contributed to the poverty of the county as people started losing their jobs.”
In recent years, the county has looked at different ways it can help improve the lives of its citizens struggling with poverty.
Its latest effort is the newly created Prosperity Center of Excellence.
“We hope this concept will actually bring us closer together as community partners that we’ll have more of a tendency to fill in the gaps where clients can get lost,” said Kevin Eastman, Executive Director of Weber Human Services.
The center is through a collaboration of Weber Human Services, Weber County Commission and the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
“What we need to really make an impact on is homelessness, and then also do those interventions and support Weber Human Services with the mental health issues because they cross lines,” said Brian Bennion, Executive Director of Weber-Morgan Health Department.
The goal is to house the agencies most-used services all under one roof within the next two years.
The planned location is the second floor of the Weber-Morgan Health Annex Building on 457 23rd Street in Ogden.
The office space is currently empty now while funding for the center is being worked out. While that happens, the agencies are coordinating from their respective offices.
Heading this effort as the center’s new director is Melissa Freigang.
ABC4 recently spoke to Freigang about the issue of intergenerational poverty for a special report on the topic in May.
In a statement she says, “I am looking forward to providing leadership, alignment, and engagement of cross-sector collaboration among stakeholders to implement actionable strategies to combat our community’s most pressing social challenges.”
Freigang was chosen from 29 candidates across the state to align the goals of these agencies.