Mayor directs funding to address homeless problem

An emergency housing program in Columbus is set to receive a cash infusion under a directive by Mayor Kristen Brown.

City Spokesman Mike Nolting says that the Mayor has directed the reallocation of up to $42,654 in Community Development Block Grant money to assist with construction of Brighter Days Housing. Nolting says that a public comment hearing for the amendment will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Columbus City Hall Conference Room #3. You are encouraged to attend.

Nolting says that Brighter Days Housing is expected to contain space for an additional 36 people in need of emergency housing. He says the space will include bathroom facilities for men, women and the disabled. It is expected to operate seven-days-a-week from the time free meal sites close until the following morning, said Nolting. The shelter is set to be placed at 421 South Mapleton Street, formerly the Columbus Township maintenance building. City officials say the additional emergency housing is needed. Nolting says that currently, there are emergency facilities available for up to four families at the Horizon House, up to six individuals in the Caldwell House operated by Centerstone and nineteen more individuals at the Cherry Street location operated by the Columbus Township Trustee and Love Chapel.

“This project addresses a vital need in our city and gives people the resources needed to overcome the issues that cause chronic homelessness. Providing this assistance to the network of agencies that offer the support demonstrates our commitment to offer a hand-up to those in need,” Mayor Brown said. She added that over the last two years, more than $100,000 has been allocated from the Community Development Block Grant program to address homeless issues, the only time the city has tapped into the program to address the homeless problem.