LIMA — Mental and physical health, housing and public transportation were the main Community Health Improvement Plan priorities discussed during the Allen County Stakeholder Breakfast Thursday at the City Club.
The 2018-2020 plan is the third of its kind created by the Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships Representatives Committee, a group comprised of 28 community partners.
The committee was formed through a collaboration of Allen County Public Health and Activate Allen County.
“Think of CHIP like a road map,” said Kathy Luhn, Allen County Public Health Commissioner. “CHIP is both a document and an ongoing process and it’s a way to help community members, agencies and organizations work together to address the root causes of the health issues that are most concerning to a community.”
During the breakfast, committee members from Allen County Public Health, Activate Allen County, Allen County Commissioners, West Ohio Community Action Partnership, Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center and the City of Lima discussed successes, challenges and future top priorities.
Some of the successful initiatives include the Activate school challenge, the Activate business challenge, the downtown farmers market, the infant safe sleep initiative and bike and pedestrian safety.
Three of the main challenges were housing, transportation and tobacco use.
Approximately 55 percent of Allen County residents cannot afford their rent and even those on government assistance programs like HUD struggle to find quality housing, according to CEO of WOCAP Jackie Fox.
Employers like Nelson Packaging Co. are struggling with employee transportation now that the Allen County Regional Transit Authority has cut their fixed weekend and night routes, according to Lima Community Church Executive Pastor Brad Taylor.
Approximately one out of five Allen County adults are smokers, according to Amy Marcum, Regional VP Mission and Values Integration at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
“We have worked hard to make sure our plan is legacy minded so that the action steps affect not only us, but for our children and grandchildren as well,” said Luhn. “The plan relies on all of us contributing our best efforts in order to make measurable differences in the community. All Allen County residents should have the opportunity to make the best choices to help them make a long and healthy life.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews