In the late 70s, the 300 Block townhouses were built as an affordable housing initiative. However, over the decades, these townhouses became the home of much gang activity, drug use, and crime. This neighborhood grew to become an unsafe place to live and raise a family. With 79 townhouses housing over 100 children, CLDI decided to create a “home” within this neighborhood to be a place of refuge and peace, a light in the darkness. It was with this vision that Youth Works set out to invest more fully in the at-risk youth and families living within the 300 Block. With a desire to see transformation in the lives of our neighbors though the person of Jesus, we moved into the neighborhood.
In the summer of 2009, Youth Works embarked on a remodeling project that led them to the 300 Block of Jefferson Street. With the help of neighborhood youth, as well as churches and other volunteers, a townhouse was renovated in the name of Jesus and has become known as “316.” 316 has gone from a residence for families in transition in 2009, to its current model as a community gathering place for children and teens. Re-opening in September 2013, 316 is a now a warm, welcoming environment, open weekly for youth to come and use the internet, play games and hang out, or simply to escape the day-to-day boredom that often leads to trouble. It is there that they interact with our staff and volunteers, seeing and hearing about all that Christ has done for them.