New Shelter Provides Transitional Housing

Emma Paul, Staff Writer

After four years of work, Valor Home will open a veteran’s shelter in Lorain by the end of this month. Meant to house veterans for up to two years, Valor Home, a program that is part of Family & Community Services, provides transitional housing with a mission, according to their website, “to support and respect the needs of veterans so that they may continue to contribute to the community and country, which are grateful for their service.”

Located at 221 W. 21st Street in Lorain, Valor Home occupies a 21,000-square foot, two-story facility. The second floor houses 30 single-person bedrooms, some of which accommodate wheelchairs, as well as a kitchen and dining room. Lorain Community College donated computers to the home’s computer lab, allowing residents to prepare résumés, access online courses, search for jobs and stay in touch with family.

According to Dan Gillotti, vice chairman of the Valor Home Lorain County Executive Committee, as quoted by the Chronicle Telegram, the mission of the home is to provide comprehensive facilities in order to be both self-contained and self-sustained.

Valor Home provides more than nighttime housing. The organization also focuses on helping veterans achieve long-term self-sufficiency.

According to the Valor Home website, “Critical to this mission is the ability for the individual veteran to find and retain permanent housing. To meet that need, Valor Home support is provided through intensive case management and access to community resources and reflects the individual needs of those served.”

Local effort played a large role in the construction of the home. Volunteers painted, tore out old carpet and ceiling tiles and furnished the building.

The Veterans Administration contributed most of the funding to build Valor Home with a grant of $474,000. Various donations and grants provided an additional $300,000, including a $50,000 grant from the Nord Family Foundation.

According to John Mullaney, executive director of the Nord Family Foundation, Valor Home will provide much-needed care in Lorain County. Its facilities are adjacent to St. Joseph’s Community Center, a seasonal and nighttime shelter, which can only give limited support to the county’s homeless population.

“In the summer, many [homeless people] end up sleeping on the riverbanks or in abandoned homes in Lorain, so it’s a pretty awful problem in the county,” said Mullaney.

Lorain County has a homeless population of approximately 450. According to Gillotti, as quoted by the Chronicle Telegram, that number hasn’t changed in some years.

This isn’t an issue limited to Lorain County. According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, about 12 percent of the adult homeless population are vets. Almost 50,000 veterans are homeless on any given night.