Southeastern Ohio is one of only four rural areas in the country to be awarded federal grants to implement innovative approaches to ending youth homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced recently.

Local homeless agencies in Athens, Vinton, Meigs, Jackson, and Gallia counties will be eligible for a portion of HUD’s $2.2 million Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program grant to help address a problem that is largely out of view in rural parts of the state.

The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) submitted the grant application along with the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) on behalf of the homeless system that includes southeast Ohio. COHHIO, a non-profit agency working to end homelessness throughout Ohio, will serve as the lead agency, collaborating with local partners to create a coordinated community plan and develop new projects to prevent and end youth homelessness in the five-county region.

A variety of local and state stakeholders will participate in the planning process, including homeless service providers, schools, child welfare agencies, youth advisory boards, the Ohio Department of Education and other community partners.

COHHIO staff will also help implement local projects that address the many challenges facing homeless youth in rural communities. As a demonstration project, the local initiatives to fight youth homelessness will be closely monitored to assess their effectiveness.

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