A project will begin next year to open new housing for homeless
men in Broome County.
Volunteers of America of Western New York helps the area's hungry and homeless.
Action News Reporter Jessica Light tells us how VOA will use a state grant to provide for the needs of a growing population.\
A 3.2 million dollar state grant will turn this old church into permanent housing for the areas homeless.
Volunteers of America of Western Broome has been working to secure funds for the project for the last 2 years.
"This will be for individuals who need support when they are out in the community. Who can not necessarily live on their own, who needs supports or referral services such as substance abuse or mental health services." says Shanida Robinson, from the VOA of Western NY.
Currently, the VOA offers temporary shelter for about 30 men at its Chenango Street location.
But the new facility, right next door, will provide permanent housing for about 30 more.
Each unit will have its own kitchenette, bath and living area.
The VOA hopes it opens up more space at its emergency shelter.
"It would open up the doors for us to house more people. A lot of times on an average day basis, we may turn 3 to 4 people away. And that at the weeks end adds up." says Robinson.
Tim Grippen from the Broome County Homeless Coalition says this grant comes at the perfect time.
The areas homeless population is on the rise as more people struggle to make ends meet.
'I think its going to get even worse, uh, with the economy the way it is. Chances are we're going to need even more beds then we currently have." says Grippen, the Co-Chair of the Broome County Homeless Coalition.
The VOA believes the grant will cover all renovations to the building.
The group wants to preserve some of its historical features, like the stained glass windows.
Construction is slated to start before next summer.
In Binghamton, Jessica Light, WBNG-TV Action News.
Volunteers of America hopes to open the facility in 2010.
The state grant comes from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
It awarded more than $33 million dollars in similar grants across New York State.