(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced two youth service organizations will be sharing nearly $430,000 in grant funding to help the young homeless population.
The Next Step program of Portage and Geauga counties and the Lighthouse Youth Services group in Cincinnati were selected to receive the grant money to support their efforts in helping homeless 18 to 24 year-olds who often have trouble receiving assistance and are disproportionately victims of crime.
"This funding will particularly impact the lives of those who have 'aged-out' of the foster care system," said Attorney General DeWine. "Not all foster kids have a place to go when they turn 18."
The Attorney General saw the need to help foster children after several of his Ohio Child Safety Summits this year revealed that the lack of services for former foster children in some areas can increase their likelihood of becoming homeless and/or crime victims.
"This grant money now will help the Next Step and Lighthouse Youth Services programs better provide for youth who need assistance," said DeWine. "These kids don't have to live on the streets and wonder every day where they'll be getting their next meal."
• The Next Step: In the last year, more than 30 young adults transitioned out of foster care in Geauga and Portage counties. These neighboring counties are primarily rural and have limited public transportation systems and transitional housing programs. The new Next Step program will fill that gap with an outreach program that will include victim advocacy, shelter, crisis support, and mental health care services. Grant funding given to the Next Step program will be used over the next two years to provide for two victim advocates and various necessities.
• Lighthouse Youth Services: This Cincinnati-based organization has been working with homeless youth for nearly 45 years. Its Youth Crisis Center is the only runaway and homeless shelter for 10 to 18 year-olds in the city and supports 100 clients at any given time. Grant funding given to Lighthouse Youth Services will be used for its new Lighthouse on Highland facility which provides a day program, resource center, and a 28-bed shelter for homeless youth 19 to 24 years-old.
The funding is provided by the State Victims Assistance Act grant program.
Dan Tierney - 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco - 614-466-3840