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County has $80K to house homeless

LISBON — Columbiana County has received state coronavirus stimulus money to help the homeless who contracted COVID-19 or those who could become homeless because of the pandemic.

County commissioners last week entered into an agreement with the local Community Action Agency to administer the $80,600 in Homeless Crisis Response Program funding awarded the county through the Ohio Development Services Agency’s CDBG program.

The CAA, which operates an 11-bed temporary homeless shelter at the former Howard’s Motel on state Route 45 in Salem Township, serves at the regional administrator for federal and state homeless funds. The region also includes Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties, and the money is divided based on a formula that takes into account bed need and population.

Martina Grimm, the CAA’s community services director, said the additional money is to help house homeless people who have tested positive for the coronavirus or who face becoming homeless after being laid off from work due to COVID-19.

Grimm said they want to keep the motel on Route 45 for healthy homeless individuals and families, but they need additional temporary shelter beds should they need to isolate the homeless who have tested positive for coronavirus but do not need hospitalized.

For that reason, the CAA has rented a place in Leetonia that can take up to five people. She said they also have agreements with several local motels to provide additional rooms should the need arise. Eligible recipients would receive vouchers they could redeem at the designated hotels.

“We want to be prepared in case there is a big surge in the next month or two,” Grimm said.

The additional homeless funds can also be used to help people who lost their jobs pay their rent so they can stay put.

The county Mental Health Center also operates a homeless shelter for its clientele, as does the Christina House, which operates a temporary homeless shelter for woman and their families in Lisbon.

In other action, commissioners took no position on a liquor license transfer request from Skipper’s Drive-Thru, state Route 172, Guilford Lake, to Kevin’s Corner LLC. The Hanover Township trustees had objection to the transfer.

This is the second meeting commissioners have held by live video conference, with commissioners Jim Hoppel and Tim Weigle present, and Mike Halleck participating from home. Those with business before commissioners were not present and participated by video conference.

All meetings will be conducted in this manner until further notice to comply with the state health director’s order to limit person-to-person contact and avoid public gatherings of 10 or more.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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