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Veterans center to add housing units for homeless

| Friday, June 6, 2008

KITTANNING -- Homeless veterans will get an extra measure of help in Armstrong County.

The Mechling-Shakley Veterans Center in Sugarcreek is adding five modular units to provide permanent supportive housing for 15 chronically homeless veterans.

"They have to be either living on the street or in an emergency shelter," the county's Planning and Development assistant director, Carmen Johnson, said of who would occupy the units.

The Armstrong County Commissioners on Thursday approved submitting an application on the center's behalf for a HOME Program grant for $208,396 through the state's Department of Community and Economic Development.

The funds will match a $335,741 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care program grant already received by the center.

The center will contribute about $56,000 in pledged funds to complete the $600,000 project.

The funding will be used to purchase and install the units and to do site work including utility installation, contingencies, engineering, inspection and administration.

In other county business, the commissioners:

• Approved the construction drawings for expansion of the Sylvan building in the West Hills Industrial Park in East Franklin.

Justin Nolder, Planning and Development's business marketing specialist, said the expansion allows Sylvan to add manufacturing space and mainly more storage space to its operation.

• Recognized June as Rivers Month in Pennsylvania and the nation by acknowledging the presence of the Allegheny, Kiskiminetas and Conemaugh rivers which run in part through Armstrong County.

"We need to capitalize on these bodies of water," said Commissioner Patty Kirkpatrick. "They're great resources."

"There's a lot of activity going on. We're utilizing our waterways," said Commissioner Jim Scahill. "There's a renewed use."

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