South Bend's Southeast Neighborhood celebrates new center

NOW: South Bend’s Southeast Neighborhood celebrates new center

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- South Bend's Southeast Neighborhood now has a brand-new facility open to the public. The Southeast Neighborhood Center, which celebrated its ribbon cutting Monday, is home to a computer lab, Head Start, the Bowen Center, and more.

Community partners said there is a big need for childcare, healthcare, and social services in the neighborhood.

Now, many of those services will all be under one roof, serving as a one-stop-shop for the community.

"There were so many positive partners and individuals that were like, this is it, this is the perfect spot to build a center like this," said Laura Jensen, President & CEO of United Way of St. Joseph County. "Really understanding that there's a huge need in our community for childcare and healthcare and coordinated social services."

United Way spearheaded the project in collaboration with local community leaders. United Way President and CEO, Laura Jenson, said they wanted to make sure neighbors embraced the idea, so they spent over a year in the planning phase talking to people about what they needed.

"Getting to know the neighbors and the residents and understanding, you know, what are their needs, and what do they want," Jensen said. "It's one thing to read data and know this is a childcare desert or a healthcare desert, but it's another thing for an individual to say they need childcare or a physician or a pharmacy."

Discussions to build the neighborhood center started back in 2018, and the 19,000-square-foot facility broke ground in Sept. 2021.

"This land has been sitting empty for over 30 years. So for us now to have this piece of property, developed, that's going to change our neighborhood, it's very important to us," said Rickardo Taylor Sr., Senior Pastor at Mount Carmel Baptist Church and president at 466 Works.

The neighborhood center includes services like early learning childcare, mental health and physician resources, and other social services, plus a gathering space and a coffee bar.

"It's a place where seniors can come in and have coffee in the morning, and just sit down and do neighborhood talk," Taylor said.  

The property is run by 1 Roof.

"The concept is, we create an ecosystem that's going to be at overall, trying to leverage-- be a point of leverage in the community-- to try to elevate the overall standard of living in the community," said Mark Herriman, executive vice president of neighborhood centers for 1 roof.

The center brings Pastor Taylor, a staple of the Southeast Neighborhood, closer to his goal of reimagining the future of that side of town.

"This is only the beginning, this is only the beginning," he said.

Starting in early 2023, the center will include WIC services.

And next, it will get a sliding-scale pharmacy for the community.

The center is located at 405 E. Dubail St. in South Bend. 

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