YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – From healthcare to housing, help with child support and fresh foods, the Annual Hope Conference provides tons of resources for those looking to take advantage.

“We just wanna bring hope. So, we have the BMV here, we have legal aid here, we have employment, job training, we have housing, anything that a person would need to overcome barriers,” said Guy Burney, the director of the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).

The Hope Conference was held at the Covelli Centre this year. Hundreds of people showed up Thursday and took advantage, and almost 100 organizations were there to offer resources.

“We’re here providing FAB, which is ‘friendship, achievement and belonging.’ That’s something that we stand by at the YMCA,” said D’Aundray Brown, sports and recreation director with the YMCA of Youngstown.

One of the most popular organizations there was the BMV table. Dozens of people were in line to get help.

“They’re here working with us to lower suspensions and reinstatement fees, sometimes they can eliminate some. They’re helping people get on track with their licenses… Child support is right next door, so they can go and get the suspension off from child support and then go to the BMV and get reinstated,” Burney said.

Burney says, although the conference is for everyone, it’s especially helpful for those who may be recovering from addiction and those with criminal records.

“We know that there are extreme barriers. We know there are a lot of jobs, but to get those jobs, you have to overcome things. And so today is a time that we want to overcome those barriers so that they can connect to the things that are good for their families and their lives,” Burney said.

Several attendees said they feel the conference was very helpful and they appreciate it.

“I think it’s great; I think it’s real great. Give a chance for people to get their felonies expunged and start over,” said Kiev Brown

“All we ask for is chances, especially when you’re coming out of the prison system, you ask for a chance. All we’re looking for is chances. Some people don’t wanna give it to us. But we keep on striving and keep going,” said James Simmons.

Burney says he started doing the conference years ago but had to take a break because of the pandemic. But he’s happy it’s back.