EVE, Community Action get $500K from state to aid homeless

Two Washington County organizations received a total of $500,000 in grants from the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) to combat homelessness.

EVE, Inc. was granted $50,000, while Washington-Morgan Community Action received a grant totaling $450,000.

The money given to Community Action will primarily be used in Washington County to temporarily pay rent and utilities for community members without a place to live.

Penny Martin, communications specialist for the ODSA, said the Community Action grant amount was so high because of the volume of people served.

“The grant amount is for three counties,” she said. “They’re serving more of the community.”

In addition to the Homeless Crisis Response Program, which provided the Community Action grant, grants also come from the Supportive Housing Program, including the grant for EVE. Martin said the programs are recurring.

“The Ohio Housing Trust Fund allocates the money each year,” she said. “These are long-standing programs.”

Nearly 80 organizations across the state received grants from ODSA to help tackle the issue of homelessness. The agency granted more than $26.3 million to help with the issue.

Martin said Washington, Morgan and Muskingum counties will be served and that Community Action has partnered with the Muskingum Economic Opportunity Action Group and the Salvation Army of Zanesville.

Washington-Morgan Community Action Executive Director David Brightbill said the grant was part of a two-year program that started on Jan. 1. It isn’t given in a lump sum either; costs incurred each month are reported to and then reimbursed by the ODSA.

Brightbill said the program has two phases.

“Phase One, which is probably used more in Muskingum County, is for individuals in (homeless) shelters,” Brightbill said. “This is to provide assistance in getting them into permanent housing.”

Brightbill said that Phase Two is a prevention aspect.

“(Individuals) could be living with neighbors, brothers or other family,” he said. “They are in a situation where they aren’t appropriately housed and could be being asked to leave. We get them started into permanent housing.”

Brightbill was quick to add that Phase Two is temporary assistance; the support is just to help people get on their feet and started paying utilities and rent.

He also said that in Washington and Morgan counties there are limited options for housing, so the prevention part was the most important part in the two areas.

According to Brightbill, around 240 people will be helped through Phase One and about 65 people will be helped through Phase Two.

Brightbill said while many may not notice it very much, homelessness is a huge problem in the area.

“It’s a continuing problem particularly in Washington and Morgan counties,” Brightbill said. “There is a continuing and serious need for people not in appropriate housing. It’s just an important program.”

Other agencies in nearby counties receiving grants from the Homeless Crisis Response Program are the Serenity House in Gallia County, at $27,100, and the Scioto Christian Ministry, Inc., in Scioto County, at $71,000.