City to continue funding homeless program

An outreach program to help the homeless will be receiving a $23,000 grant from the city of Columbus to keep the program operating. The money will come from federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

The Columbus Homelessness Outreach Program is a partnership between Centerstone, Love Chapel, Horizon House, Columbus Regional Mental Health Services and the Columbus Township Trustee’s office. According to the city, the program identifies chronically homeless people suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse problems. It then connects them with housing resources, recovery services, life skills coaching, employment counseling and access to medical treatment.

The program began in September 2014 with a $35,000 block grant. According to the city, between Sept. 1, 2014 and Aug. 31, 2015, 48  people participated in the initial intake process. Of those, 32 entered treatment, 21 were able to find permanent housing and 8 have now found employment.

Columbus Regional Health Foundation and Heritage Fund have each approved $20,000 grants to fund the program.

The city’s board of public works and safety approved the new grant yesterday morning.