For the Troy Daily News
TROY — The Miami County Continuum of Care organization has recently been granted their 501c3 non-profit tax-exempt, public charity status from the IRS. The declaration now allows donors a better tax advantage in supporting the organization’s efforts.
Established in 1996, the MCCC has brought together many human services agencies to share resources to aid the county’s homeless population. Board members include those involved in health services, housing, education, emergency assistance and government agencies.
Board president Justin Coby said, “Being approved as a charitable organization will allow us to seek donor help and expand our service to our most vulnerable citizens.” Coby added, “This continuum truly supports a collaborative care effort amongst the non-profit organizations within the county. We will all benefit from this step towards more organized collaboration.”
Coby also serves as executive director of the Health Partners Free Clinic, located in Troy. Others serving on the MCCC Board of Directors are Dorothy Crusoe, director of community housing of Darke, Miami and Shelby counties; Jessica Echols, executive director of Partners in Hope; Thom Grim, executive director of Miami County Recovery Council; Barb Holman, executive director of the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County; John Jung, director of New Creation Counseling Center; Bill Lutz, executive director of The New Path; Claire Timmer, executive director of the Miami County Dental Clinic; and Piqua Police Chief Bruce Jamison.
In 1996, the Family Abuse Shelter (FAS) of Miami County Inc., provided leadership in forming the MCCC to identify gaps in services to the homeless in Miami County. Their goal was to work towards eliminating these gaps through increased collaboration. In the beginning stages of the group, participation was relatively small and limited to individuals and agencies directly serving the homeless populations.
In 1998, officials began discussing the needs of at-risk, low-income populations to expand its focus, and begin addressing the issues faced by the homeless.
In 1999, through the Continuum, the FAS were able to obtain the first Housing Trust Fund grant received in the county. The funds were used to help homeless persons transition out of shelter care easier and to begin assisting at-risk, low-income individuals from losing their housing through rental and utility assistance.
First needs assessment and homeless count
In 2001, the MCCC conducted its first annual needs assessment and homeless count. They identified a need for transitional housing to assist homeless individuals and families with longer term housing and case management support. The FAS secured funding and began providing eight units of housing for homeless individuals in downtown Troy.
A second grant provided longer term case management and follow up services in the home for homeless families with minor children. The goal of this program, which continues to be offered today, is to help families transition out of shelter care and to promote their ongoing stability and self-sufficiency.
In 2003, the Continuum began looking at the needs of special populations when attempting to obtain employment, housing, and other supportive services. They expand its membership to agencies representing diverse needs such as mental illness, developmental disabilities, chemical dependency, physical disabilities, etc. Officials at Community Housing, Inc., obtained a grant to provide long-term, supportive housing assistance for individuals suffering from severe mental illnesses, which is still provided today.
In 2005, the MCCC appointed an executive committee, consisting of volunteer members representing diverse populations.
In 2009, grant funding was obtained through the Ohio Department of Development to provide rental and utility assistance for homeless and at-risk families, and individuals in Miami County. New Creations Counseling Center provided case management.
In 2012-13, the MCCC continued to receive and distribute funds, now on a regional level in Miami and Shelby Counties.
Leaders take action to meet other local needs
In 2013, the Continuum entered into a pact with the Miami County Recovery Council to care for chemically-dependent women through transitional housing. During this time, members also began addressing transportation gaps for indigent and low-income persons. These barriers, for those without reliable transportation in a rural area, were identified as a serious gap. The plan was to assist homeless and at-risk populations in accessing available supportive services.
In 2013, the MCCC received a $40,000 donation by a local business man to begin addressing transportation concerns. At the time, the Continuum did not have a 501c3 status as the Ginghamsburg Church was named to serve as the recipient of the donation, and to administer the funds. The MCCC purchased two vehicles, and hired a part-time transportation coordinator. This eventually led to the development of the Rides to Work Program, which is still in use today.
For more information about the MCCC, the group may be contacted by e-mail at [email protected]