Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Federal aid granted to Butler homeless agencies

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A big chunk of federal help is headed to the homeless of Butler County, via several county agencies.

        Six groups will receive $896,456 from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development over the next three years, Transitional Living Inc., the lead agency on the project, announced Monday.

        The money will be used to provide housing and a range of other services to the homeless, including treatment for drug abuse and mental health problems and assistance finding jobs.

Working together
        “The uniqueness is pulling all these agencies together,” said Kathy Becker, Homeless Coalition chairwoman and a supervisor at Transitional Living. “We're bring ing the resources to (the client) now.”

        Butler County has a larger homeless population than people might think — a recent count found at least 600 people, said Ms. Becker, who is also a member of Hamilton City Council.

The hidden homeless
        “In Butler County, people aren't hanging around downtown the way they are in Cincinnati. They may be out in the woods, using plastic sheets to keep warm,” she said. “So it's more aggressive outreach that we have to do.”

        The agencies sharing the grant are:

        • Butler Behavioral Health Services will use the money to provide job-related services and basic psychiatric support.

        • New Avenues Inc., a housing development agency, will help develop six residences for homeless people with mental illness and possibly drug-abuse problems.

        • Sojourner Women's Recovery Services will provide intensive intervention services for chronic drug abusers, including those with mental illness.

        • Southwestern Ohio Serenity Hall, a residential drug treatment center for men, will target homeless men with drug problems.

        • Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families, the county's Community Action Agency, will provide mentoring and life skills, housing placement, clothing, job and education services, transportation to jobs and training, and school fees and supplies for children.

        • Transitional Living, a mental health organization and housing provider, will expand community support and targeted medical and psychiatric services for mental ill homeless people.


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