Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Funds will provide housing for 15 homeless veterans
By Justin Wier
Mahoning County, with the help of Family and Community Services of Ravenna, obtained a $741,851 U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs grant to provide housing to 15 homeless veterans.
Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti, who led the effort to provide veteran housing in the county, called the development exciting.
“It’s a good day for veterans in the Valley,” she said. “We’ve been working on this for over a year.”
Matthew Slater, director of veteran services for Family & Community Services, said the housing will follow the model of a program his organization established in 2013 in Warren.
The “transition-in-place” model places homeless veterans in an apartment with the goal to get them to take over the lease.
“We work with them on getting benefits, employment, whatever they might need to maintain the housing,” Slater said.
The Warren program has successfully transitioned more than 80 percent of veterans who entered its program, compared to a national average of about 65 percent, he said.
“We’re very excited because this has worked in Warren,” Slater said.
County officials hoped to renovate a portion of Oakhill Renaissance Place to provide transitional housing for about 21 veterans, but the county did not get the $1.4 million it sought this year in the state’s capital budget.
While those plans did not come to fruition, Rimedio-Righetti said the current project is a win for the region.
“Anything is better than having nothing for our vets,” she said. “Anything we can do to assist them is great.”
Slater said he hopes to have five veterans placed in housing by the end of the year.
The county and Family and Community Services will work with the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Association which Slater said will provide about a third of the units.
For the rest, his organization will partner with local landlords, who he asked to contact him at 330-773-7000.
The commissioners will discuss the project at a 10 a.m. news conference Thursday in the commissioners’ meeting room at the Mahoning County Courthouse.