Facility for homeless female veterans expected to open in Akron early next year

August 30, 2018 GMT

Facility for homeless female veterans expected to open in Akron early next year

AKRON, Ohio – By early next year, Summit County’s first residential housing facility for homeless female veterans and their children is expected to open in Akron.

County Executive Ilene Shapiro announced the creation of Summit Liberty House on Thursday at her annual state-of-the-county address at the John S. Knight Center.

The facility is being developed through a partnership between the city of Akron, Summit County and Family & Community Services, which serves families in need in eight area counties.

The Summit County Land Bank worked to acquire the East Akron site, which has been empty and tax delinquent for some time, said Land Bank Executive Director Patrick Bravo. The Land Bank is preparing to turn over the deed to Family & Community Services, he said.

Family & Community Services already operates Valor Home Summit for homeless male vets and Valor House for male vets in need of out-patient treatment through the Veterans’ Administration.

But only one other residential facility exists in the area for female vets - Miss Liberty House in Portage County. That facility also is operated by Family and Community Services.

“The Portage County facility has been a huge success, and we hope to bring that same sense of care, empathy and hope to its Summit County sister facility,” Shapiro said during her address.

Females veterans make up the fastest-growing homeless population of any demographic in the U.S., said Mathew Slater, the organization’s director of veteran services.

“The fact that we have the county, the city and the land bank recognizing that and stepping forward and saying we need to do something, is huge,” Slater said.

The city and county are partnering to provide the funding to renovate the house, which will offer four units for female veterans selected though a referral process, Slater said.

Discussions are ongoing about potentially opening additional residential facilities for female vets, said Family & Community Services Executive Director Mark Frisome.

The house next door to the proposed Summit Liberty House property is poised for demolition, Bravo said, and the land could be donated to provide a larger outdoor play area for the kids who will live at there.

To help kick off awareness, a free event, open to the public, is planned for Thursday, Sept. 27 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Akron Civic Theatre. The event will feature a silent art auction as well as name-a-room opportunities to raise money for Summit Liberty House operations.

RSVP for the event by email here or by calling 330-297-7027, ext. 305.

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