Since its inception, CityLink has relied on research to develop a best-in-class multi-service center for the city of Cincinnati.

Community Research

CityLink listened to stakeholders and participants in their partners’ programs. The CityLink Center Board commissioned Seeideas, Inc. research design method included three phases:

  1. For the first phase, CityLink leaders and community stakeholders engaged 90 focus group participants representing 17 community/customer groups. Related to a healthy, urban Cincinnati community, research participants were asked about their insights and aspirations, which uncovered 39 customer values/issues of importance. These values became the basis of a quantitative written survey.
  2. For the second phase, 115 people from the community/customer groups completed the written survey that evaluated the 39 values on personal importance and overall performance of Cincinnati’s social service providers.
  3. For the third and final phase, 11 subject matter experts/design team members participated in two extensive ideation sessions. With a focus on the 39 customer values, they developed concept solutions that will shape every aspect of the CityLink Center.

CityLink also engaged Robin Lightner, social psychologist and professor at the University of Cincinnati, who conducted a literature review. Research suggested that a full-service case management model—as opposed to clients accessing services piecemeal—resulted in improved treatment retention, reduced hospitalizations, modest savings, reduced symptoms and higher satisfaction because those who need help the most are least able to navigate the complex and fragmented system of care.

National Research

Using data gathered from its community research, CityLink also conducted national research, focused on benchmarking the best-in-class services for the poor.  CityLink searched nationwide for best-in-class social services centers who are achieving promising results helping people overcome poverty:

Centers for Working Families (13 locations in the U.S.)
A framework developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Center for Working Families approach bundles employment, financial, and work and benefit support services in one convenient location to help families stabilize their finances, move ahead and build self-sufficiency.

Organizations utilizing the Centers for Working Families method include:

  • The Center for Working Families, Atlanta, GA
  • Bon Secours, Baltimore, MD
  • LISC, Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN
  • Seedco, New York, NY
  • Metropolitan Education & Training (MET) Center, St. Louis, MO

Other excellent integrated service centers include:

  • Community Partnership for the Homeless, Miami, FL
  • Haven for Hope, San Antonio, TX
  • PATH in Los Angeles, CA
  • St. Vincent de Paul Village, San Diego, CA