April 17, 2014

Mostly sunny

Lorain County homeless shelters receive state grants

The Ohio Development Services Agency is helping to combat homelessness with the recent approval of a $26.3 million grant to be donated to 80 homeless shelters across the state, including in Lorain County.

In early December, the Ohio Controlling Board approved funding for the Homeless Crisis Response Program and the Supportive Housing Program, which are both designed to prevent homelessness, give aid to shelters and move people from shelters to more permanent housing.

Three shelters in Lorain County are receiving money from the programs. The HM Housing Development Corp. is receiving $135,000 from the Supportive Housing Program and the Young Women’s Christian Association of Elyria is receiving $159,900 in a renewal grant from the same program.

The Neighborhood Alliance is also renewing an old grant to receive $377,000 from the Homeless Crisis Response Program.

For Jeanine Donaldson, the YWCA’s executive director, the grant couldn’t come at a better time.

“We were excited to have it,” Donaldson said, adding that the YWCA has been receiving grants from the program for eight years. In recent years, other sources have been giving the YWCA less grant money, putting a strain on the organization’s finances.

The grant from the Supportive Housing Program will allow the YWCA to continue funding programs which help homeless women deal with debt, court costs and finding counseling services. They are all issues that need to be addressed before women can find housing and move out of the shelter, Donaldson said.

The Neighborhood Alliance has similar ideas of how to spend the grant money. Director Sandy Humphrey said the grant can pay for a nicer shelter, replace birth certificates and provide bus tickets for individuals in the shelter who are trying to move.

Though the $377,000 grant that Neighborhood Alliance was renewed, Humphrey said the shelter has received a little more money this year than in previous years, which she credits in large part to the shelter’s reputation.

“The state speaks very highly of our program,” Humphrey said, adding that Neighborhood Alliance has succeeded in urging homeless residents to find housing outside of the shelter.

“It requires a certain amount of personal responsibility,” she said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.