ShareThis Page

Trio of Uniontown mission projects to benefit from grant

Mary Pickels
| Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A $300,000 challenge grant recently awarded to Uniontown's City Mission-Living Stones Inc. will be split among three projects, its executive director said.

“We are so excited the Richard King Mellon Foundation came on board. This says a huge amount about their confidence in us being able to achieve what we set out to achieve,” said Irmi Gaut.

The Fayette County nonprofit serves the homeless. The grant funding will boost an agency capital campaign to increase housing and services.

Gaut said $100,000 will be used toward construction of six permanent supportive housing units for homeless families, bringing the number of units to 14.

The agency has secured the land for four one-bedroom, one two-bedroom and one three-bedroom units with access to public transportation and job centers. The construction will replace vacant, blighted property.

“There is a need for that because we have long-term housing here at the mission for two years. Once they leave the apartments, we want them to be successful,” Gaut said.

Another $100,000 will be dedicated to expanding the independent living program for youths age 18 to 21.

The program serves runaway and homeless youths, as well as children referred through Children and Youth Services, juvenile probation and the county office of mental health.

“We have been open since 2002. Since then, numerous kids have aged out of the system. At 18, you are considered an adult, but they might not be ready yet,” Gaut said.

She cited one example of a young woman whose mother is in prison, and who has no other custodial adult in her life. Her only other option is an adult shelter, she said.

The vision includes a large, single-family home for possibly four young adults. They must attend high school or enroll in college or business school and must contribute a portion of the rent.

An on-site house parent will assist with life skills, Gaut said.

“This will help them take the next step toward being independent,” she said.

The final $100,000 will be applied to the completion of major upgrades to the Gallatin School Living Centre, City Mission's transitional housing program.

Each of the 30 units in the former school, opened as a homeless center in 1998, would have kitchen appliances, furnishings and flooring replaced.

Plans include renovation of the community room and kitchen, space that is used regularly for board meetings, holiday dinners, weekly on-site mental health services and recreational activities for residents.

“We always have a waiting list,” Gaut said.

“No one is turned away if they are unable to (contribute rent). But we expect that once someone gets in the program they start working and take steps toward paying rent.

“Clients are expected to meet certain goals,” she said, including earning a GED and obtaining a driver's license.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.