Updates complete at homeless shelter for men

Grant helps improvement project in Troy.

TROY – A series of updates at the Buckeye House homeless shelter for men has been completed, thanks to a grant secured by the Miami County Family Abuse Shelter and the city of Troy.

A Targets of Opportunity CARES Act grant through the Ohio Department of Development was used to carry out $329,618 in improvements in a project that concluded in December.

The updates — such as expanded space for the kitchen and laundry room and three restroom renovations, including the first-floor handicapped restroom — will allow the shelter to now house up to 16, said Mike Bessler, FAS assistant director overseeing the men’s shelter operations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the men’s shelter was able to stay open but at times was limited to 12 residents due to distancing requirements.

The FAS also operates the Franklin House shelter for women and children victims of abuse and/or homelessness. A new women’s facility that opened in Troy a couple of years ago had enough space to continue housing numbers during COVID-19.

The grant was administered by the city, said Barb Holman, FAS executive director. “We are so appreciative for the city to believe in what we do. This is not the first time they have been supportive of us in this type of work,” she said.

The grant money was spent for the following work, said Nikki Reese, city of Troy community development director: replacing two HVAC units, replacing the roof, expanding the laundry room, upgrading the electric to the detached garage, remodeling the kitchen to provide more room for social distancing, remodeling all three bathrooms to increase space, and repairing a leaking chimney and ceiling that had water damage caused by the leaking chimney.

Grant dollars also paid for the architect to design the project and prepare the project for competitive bids and helped pay for temporary shelter for the men while work was being done.

The Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health’s Community Housing also helped with providing temporary housing for shelter participants, Bessler said.

The men’s shelter is located on South Market Street in a more than 100-year-old house.

Both the men’s and women’s shelters continue to be busy with rising costs; and efforts to transition people to more permanent housing are more difficult due to rental prices, Holman said.

The shelters provide a vital service to the community, Bessler said.

“Most people are not aware of it (homelessness) unless it is on their front door … if it comes close to them,” he said. “We want to raise awareness that it is needed in the community.”

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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