Valor Home seeks proper documents to operate in Lorain, Ohio

LORAIN, Ohio — A new transitional housing facility for veterans will seek approval from Lorain officials for a zoning permit.

City officials will hold a public hearing about Valor Home this morning before the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission meetings.

The Valor Home Lorain County planning committee is seeking a variance and conditional use permit for the 30-bed facility, which would be in the second floor of the Professional Office Building, 221 W. 21st St.

The area is zoned B-1 business district and a residential facility is not permitted in a business district, according to Lorain’s zoning code.

The Valor Home has been in the planning stages since February 2011 and originally was to be in the St. Joseph Community Center.

Generally, residents have mixed reactions about residential facilities moving into a neighborhood, said Safety-Service Director Robert Fowler.

The zoning and planning boards will listen and consider comments from anyone who wishes to speak about the facility, Fowler said. He added he is optimistic Valor Home will have strong public support.

With Valor Home, Lorain also has an opportunity to assist a new service to veterans that the city does not provide, Fowler said.

“From the city’s perspective, I think it’s a great project,” Fowler said. “I think its a benefit to our community.”

The United States would be a very different place without the service of veterans, many of whom sacrificed their lives for our country, Fowler said. People also may not understand the transition that service members make when they go from civilian life to military service, then back to civilian life, he said.

“We’re duty-bound to make sure we have the proper facilities for them to have the treatment that they need,” Fowler said. “We should be providing services to acclimate our veterans back to civilian life.”

The location also is beneficial because it is near the Veterans Administration clinic at the St. Joseph Community Center, he added.

The facility has a local planning committee working with Family & Community Services Inc., of Ravenna, which helped obtain federal funding for the project.

Along with individual bedrooms, Valor Home will have a kitchen and dining room, pantry, laundry room, lounge and game room, computer room, showers and restrooms, and space for individual counseling and group therapy.

It will be in the same building as the Lorain County Women, Infants and Children Program and Mercy Regional Medical Center infectious disease clinic.

Veterans who live there will complete a 12-week homeless remission course and will work with a case manager to create and individual development plan, said Matthew Slater, director of veteran services for Family & Community Services Inc.

The residents also will learn or refresh skills needed for full-time employment and self-sufficiency, Slater said in a letter to City Council members.

As long as the veterans make progress, they can stay in the transitional housing up to two years. The facility will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The public hearing will start at 9 a.m. today at the first floor council chambers of Lorain City Hall, 200 W. Erie Ave., with the Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission meetings to follow. The meetings are open to the public.

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