About Operation New Hope

Operation New Hope works to build a stronger community by creating opportunities to realize second chances and reduce recidivism.

In 1998, Operation New Hope President, Kevin Gay awoke to a charge of becoming part of a movement aimed at giving back, a movement rooted in community and faith, a lasting movement. The charge steered him to Jacksonville’s Historic Springfield, a community foreign to him but one rich with history. Springfield’s architectural landscape was an amazement he had never witnessed. Yet, his amazement was trumped by the neighborhood’s more than 30-year struggle with crime, homelessness, disrepair, poverty and drugs.

​ Kevin was immediately compelled to restore the stately architecture and restore the neighborhood’s pride. As Kevin’s vision began to take shape, his eyes were widened to the residents and occupants of Springfield; many were in a state of hopelessness, seemingly empty and broken. Quickly, reality unveiled itself – restoring the homes would displace many of the residents, potentially worsening their lives. Kevin’s vision evolved; he wove together a project committed to rebuilding lives and restoring communities – one home and one life at a time. Kevin’s vision became Operation New Hope. During its infancy, Operation New Hope traversed many barriers and obstacles: skeptical onlookers, funding shortages, and equipment theft. Searching for balance between the community and his efforts, Kevin initiated a strategy of employing neighborhood residents as craftsmen and laborers. Unknown to Kevin, his efforts in bringing together a community lost to blight, poverty and outright neglect would soon capture the attention of the most powerful office in the world. To date, ONH is responsible for building and restoring more than 80 homes throughout the Historic Springfield and Eastside neighborhoods and works in concert with community organizations to provide assistance to those requiring treatment for chemical dependency, clothing, shelter, educational training, and employment.
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In 2003, President George W. Bush selected Operation New Hope as the pilot site for the Ready4Work program. Applauded by President Bill Clinton in his book, “Giving,” praised by President Barack Obama, and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao; Ready4Work is recognized as one of the nation’s best re-entry program.
Operating with a four-pronged approach (case management, life-coaching, job training and job placement assistance) Ready4Work ensures clients receive wrap-around care. Additionally, strategic partnerships with faith-based organizations, local businesses, community outlets and the judicial system motivate and move individuals to become productive, responsible citizens within the community.
Our clients are required to be drug-free while participating in our 4-week career development training course that focuses on employment and life skills. A dedicated job coach works with the client and employer to place individuals in jobs where there is a match for both parties. The Ready4Work staff remains in contact with the client for a full year.
The success of the Ready4Work program improves public safety and reduces local, state, and federal budgets for incarceration services as evidenced by its recidivism rate of only 14%, less than half of the national rate.

1998


Operation New hope started as a way to revitalize the Springfield area in downtown Jacksonville


2003


Ready4Work® program Launches


2014


Ready4Work® Program Replicated in Hillsborough


2015


Operation New Hope Breaks Ground On Springfield Apartment Complex


2016


Jacksonville companies join ‘ban the box’ movement


2016


Ready4Work® Program Replicated in Tallahassee


2017


New Jacksonville Port Academy Quickly Prepares Ex-Offenders For Work


2018


Kevin Meets with Current Whitehouse Administration over expansion of Ready4Work®


2018


Duval County rolls out drivers license restoration program


2018


HUD Secretary Ben Carson visits Jacksonville and Operation New Hope


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