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Dem lawmakers announce state, federal funding for Valley organizations

Grants will help house homeless veterans, promote student achievement
June 17, 2016
Democratic Newsroom

State Reps. John Boccieri (D-Poland) and Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced the release of over $300,00 in grant funding for organizations in Mahoning County working to house homeless veterans and support student mentorship initiatives.

The Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority (MHA) received $50,688 from the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs’ Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. The Youngstown MHA, in partnership with the Louis Stokes (Cleveland) VA Medical Center/ Youngstown Outpatient clinic, will receive 11 vouchers to help homeless veterans find permanent housing. Across Ohio, 11 grants totaling $700,000 will go toward helping 145 veterans.

“I believe it is important to invest in the health and well-being of our veterans, who have sacrificed their lives to help keep us safe,” said Boccieri. “Therefore, we must in turn do everything we can to help provide basic necessities—like housing—to ensure these heroes are safe and protected as they return to civilian life.”

The HUD-VASH partnership is unique in that the voucher not only provides rental assistance on behalf of HUD, but also specializes in case management through VA Medical Centers. Eligible veterans are assessed on a variety of factors, including the duration of homelessness and long term need for serious support in maintaining permanent housing. Veterans participating in the program rent privately owned housing and typically contribute around 30 percent of their income toward rent.

In addition, the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber and Junior Achievement of Mahoning Valley Inc. received a total of $289,125 in grant funding as a part of the state’s Community Connectors Program. The program, initially funded in the 2014 budget review bill, is intended to unite families, community organizations, businesses and other citizens to support the future achievement, mentorship and resiliency of students in grades 5 to 12.

“Students perform better in school when there is collective involvement among the parents, teachers and the community,” said Lepore-Hagan. “This program will help students in low-performing districts and low-income areas realize their full potential by promoting critical values such as team work, dedication and motivation at an early age.”

The two grant recipients were among 108 groups that received a total of $9.4 million dollars in recommendations released earlier this month. Program applicants were judged according to how well they met the program’s primary objectives of helping students set goals, build character, develop pathways to achievement, build a sense of resiliency and believe in a positive future for themselves.