News & Events

Look at “What's Happening” at the Office of Human Affairs:

  • 48th Annual Awards Banquet
  • HomeOwner Gold Workshop
  • First-Time Home Buyers Class
  • GED Preparation Class

Click Here to View


Donate to OHA

Online donations are made possible through a secure connection to PayPal.  Please click on the button below to donate with a credit card or your PayPal account and follow the instructions on the PayPal site.

OHA eNews

mailSign-Up Now!

Save a tree by receiving an electronic copy of our monthly newsletter. Getting news about events, and accomplishments delivered to your in box is just a click away!

Click Here to View E-Newsletters

aboutus-2

aboutus

In February of 1966, the Newport News Office of Economic Opportunity, OEO, opened its doors, creating within the city a new era of hope, the kind of hope that stirred up and motivated many of the city’s poor and disenfranchised citizens to begin setting their sights on attainable, life-long goals. Working earnestly to avail themselves of newly created opportunities, many individuals found that they were able to improve their economic circumstances and rise beyond their incessant poverty.

OEO, as it was then called, hired its first Executive Director, Mrs. Norvleate Downing Gross, a dynamic and inspirational community activist, who implemented a plan aimed at combating those economic ills suffered by the community’s poor. In organizing her office, she stated that, “I walked into empty rooms, no chairs, no desks… in fact, nothing; but I was inspired by the faith of a few that I could do a job for my community and for those who were less fortunate than ourselves”.

Mrs. Downing-Gross served in the capacity of Executive Director until her untimely death in 1983. As a result of her leadership, diligence, and tenacity, the organization has become a beacon in the community, providing a plethora of federal, state, local and private funded programs, all aimed at maximizing opportunities, while helping to transform lives.

mission_circleSince 1983, only four other individuals have served in the capacity of Executive Director for this illustrious agency: Mr. Robert O. Bigelow, Mrs. Carolyn C. Hutcheson, Mr. Robert D. Ayers, Jr. and Mr. Wendell F.Braxton, the current Executive Director, who was hired in February 2006 to sustain the rich OHA legacy that was so meticulously crafted by Mrs. Norvleate Downing Gross over the years. Mr. Braxton has accepted the challenge, pledging to provide the visionary leadership that would propel the organization forward, implementing a vast array of services; reducing poverty, transforming lives and helping those less fortunate achieve economic self-sufficiency.

For more than forty years, the Office of Human Affairs (OHA) has maintained a stellar reputation for its relentless efforts to mobilize and coordinate community resources on the Peninsula while engaging in a daring and incessant battle in the War on Poverty.

Serving the cities of Newport News and Hampton, OHA continues to offer innovative solutions and collaborative strategies that help low-income families and the working poor overcome their short- and long-term economic setbacks while becoming more self-sufficient. In recent years, specific programs and services administered by OHA have been the direct result of the agency's responsiveness to the needs of its constituency, and include important initiatives in the following areas:

  • child development & pre-school education
  • food bank and food pantry service
  • parenting skills; school drop-out and prevention
  • summer lunches for low-income children
  • employment training
  • senior citizen activities
  • homeless shelter services
  • affordable housing and housing counseling services
  • ex-offender and re-entry project
  • financial literacy and debt management; labor standards compliance
  • services for unwed mothers and their offspring
  • general emergency services assistance
  • minority business development
  • a credit union

picgallery

about-pic-1

Former Executive Director, Norvleate Dowing Gross and President Lyndon B. Johnson

about-pic-2

1966 Head Start Parent Advisory Council

about-pic-3

1st Job Fair - 1967

about-pic-4

Employment Counseling

about-pic-5

Child Development Program

about-pic-6

Open House 1974 Exhibit of Handwork
and Crafts by OHA Seniors

 

 

1page-title4

Join the growing number of individuals
           
interested in the fight to win the "War on Poverty"

We take considerable pride in our reputation for developing and administering programs that help our community's disadvantaged and low-income population.

Since OHA's creation in 1965, the office has consistently demonstrated its ability to produce quality programs that have had a beneficial impact on the lives of those less-fortunate. The F.A.C.E.S. program featured to the right illustrates our dedication to continue providing effective community programs.

In this regard, we earnestly express our enormous appreciation to our champions and many friends for their unwavering support and numerous acts of charitable giving through the years.