CINCINNATI — A local veteran who was lifted from homelessness is about to gain even more from Cincinnati’s community housing programs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday announced federal funding for three new programs in Cincinnati.
Combined, these three programs are intended to increase self-sufficiency for families who depend on public housing and to get homeless veterans off the streets.
According to the news release, HUD and the VA awarded the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) nearly $144,000 to help provide permanent homes to 30 local homeless veterans. The funding is provided through a program called VASH, which combines rental assistance with case management and clinical services.
Local Navy veteran and CMHA resident Earl Logan has felt the life-changing benefits of VASH.
“I didn’t realize how lost a person can be once they get into a position of being homeless and not knowing what steps to take,” Logan said. “(CMHA) helped me to get back on my feet, to regain my self confidence and to understand that I am somebody.”
Veteran homelessness declined by 2% over the past two years and has dropped by nearly 50% since the HUD-VASH program was created in 2010, according to HUD.
Joseph Galvin, midwest regional administrator for HUD, said the assistance gives veterans like Logan a chance to focus on other needs.
“He will be able to participate and stay in housing while looking for the right type of fit, whether it’s a mental physical treatment, or whether it’s just looking for job opportunities, maybe career-building so they aren’t back on the streets,” Galvin said.
The two other programs announced Thursday are not specifically veteran-focused and will be open to CMHA residents generally.
According to the news release, HUD awarded CMHA $365,000 as a part of their Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS). The program would help CMHA hire service coordinators who help residents increase their earned income and reduce their dependence on public assistance.
CMHA would collaborate with community colleges and businesses to help program participants gain marketable skills, training and education so they can lock down new employment or advance at their current job, according to HUD.
As a part of HUD’s announcement, Cincinnati will transform two existing CMHA resource centers into EnVision Centers: One in Winton Terrace and the other in Findlater Gardens.
According to the release, EnVision centers serve as an “incubator” to support the federal program’s four pillars of opportunity — economic empowerment, educational advancement, health and wellness, and character and leadership.
The centers are intended to be a one-stop shop housing both federal resources and local resources in one place and making them more easily available to HUD-assisted families.
Galvin said the newly announced programs will make CMHA residents more stable, allowing them to quickly move on and out of CMHA housing.
“It was not made to be permanent housing; it was made to be transitory housing,” Galvin said. “When they need our assistance, we are there. But then we want to make sure we can help them move on, move forward.”