State Rep. Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester) and Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) introduced bi-partisan legislation today that that would create the Safe Shelter Initiative within the Ohio Department of Veteran Services (ODVS).
“As a veteran I believe we owe a debt of gratitude to those who served our country and they should never wind up on the streets,” said Gross. “It is my goal to make sure our nation’s heroes and protectors of liberty are girded up by our grateful state and are never homeless.”
The Safe Shelter program will do the following:
· Integrate veterans who need housing into housing and shelter programs;
· Include a method to provide vouchers to state and local entities that provide housing services to veterans;
· Participate and coordinate with various state and local agencies to ensure that no Ohio veteran is involuntarily homeless, including the development services agency, Ohio housing finance agency, department of job and family services, department of mental health and addiction services, county veterans service commissions, and other such agencies the director or the governor designates;
· Allocates funding from the veterans safe shelter initiative program fund established in division of this section to provide nightly vouchers, funding for shelters, monthly apartment rentals, and such other means as the director determines necessary for purposes of the program;
· Creates in the state treasury the veterans safe shelter initiative program fund consisting of money appropriated to the fund by the general assembly. The director of veterans services shall administer the fund for purposes of the safe shelter initiative program;
· Through the governor, order any agency of this state to work with the director of veterans services for purposes of the safe shelter initiative program. The governor may also request that county veterans service commissions’ work with the director of veterans services for purposes of the safe shelter initiative program; and
· Upon request by the director of veterans services to participate in the safe shelter initiative program, the development services agency, Ohio housing finance agency, department of job and family services, department of mental health and addiction services, or any other applicable agency will participate.