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Published: 11/26/2013

Local agencies get $2.6M for youth, vet programs

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Several Lucas County agencies will receive a total of $2.6 million to collaborate and provide rehabilitation programs for troubled youths and provide housing assistance for military veterans.

The funded programs require the collaboration of several organizations, said Ruthann House, president and CEO of WSOS Community Action Agency, which is distributing the grants. The grant funds are being issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“As we all know resources are shrinking,” Ms. House said. “We have the ability to build partnerships to help people succeed.

“No one should go hungry. No one should go homeless. No one should be denied an opportunity to earn an education.”

The approved grants were announced by WSOS during a news conference held at Toledo Grows, the Robert J. Anderson Urban Agriculture Center, 900 Oneida St.

Those grants include:

● $1.1 million for Fast-Forward, a program for 16 to 24-year-olds who’ve gone through the juvenile justice system and need additional skill training in order to obtain gainful employment. Agencies that will be collaborating include the Lucas County Juvenile Court, the Ridge Project, Youth Advocate Programs Inc., Toledo Grows, Legal Aid, and The Source.

● $1 million for YouthBuild, a program for 16 to 24-year-olds who’ve gone through the juvenile justice system and teaches them to build houses for the homeless. Participants will also be required to work toward a GED diploma. Collaborating agencies include United North, Harbor, Northwest Construction Education Center, and the Toledo Lucas County Housing Continuum of Care.

● $500,000 will fund Rental Assistant for Veterans and Community Housing Improvement Programs. The rental assistance program will help veterans pay rent and will be used to hire a case manager to assist veterans in obtaining benefits. The community program will target the general population in South Toledo and provide funds to help owners rehabilitate homes and make payments.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said competition for dwindling federal dollars is fierce. The willingness of so many organizations and agencies to work together proved to be an edge for Lucas County, she said.

“That’s $2.6 million of your tax dollars coming home to help and grow interagency collaboration, that can be used to rebuild our community,” Miss Kaptur said.

Lucas County Juvenile Court Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon said the funding will allow the community “to provide training and mentoring” for many troubled youths.

“The question has always been, ‘What do we do with 16 to 24-year-olds,’ ” she said. “We already know the challenges these young people face include poverty, mental health issues, gun violence, family violence, and gang violence.”

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154



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