Portage-run Honor Home gives Stark County homeless veterans a place to call home


A young National Guard Vet looks out the window of The Stark County Veterans Service Commission Honor Home in Canton where he is staying which for veterans who are homeless or who are in transition and are in need of transitional housing.

PLAIN TOWNSHIP Richard Kirkland became homeless when a court magistrate overseeing his divorce proceedings ordered the incompatible couple to sell their Massillon home.

“I got nothing (from the sale of the house), and she didn’t get anything either. That was stupid. But it happened,” said Kirkland, 85, who bounced from shelter to shelter for the first few months.

But the U.S. Army veteran considers himself lucky. He is one of the first to live in the newly opened Honor Home, owned and operated by Portage County-based Family & Community Service. The home is Stark County’s first dedicated residence for veterans who are homeless or who are in transition and need transitional housing.

“This is place is good, nothing wrong with the place at all,” Kirkland said. “I found a lot of friends here that I enjoy being with and talking to.”

Family & Community Services operates 130 housing sites for homeless veterans in Ohio, including Freedom House in Kent and Valor Home in Akron.

Veteran Richard Kirkland sits in the living room of The Stark County Veterans Service Commission Honor Home in Canton for veterans who are homeless or who are in transition and are in need of transitional housing.

The agency is currently renovating two other buildings on the property at 2832 34th St. NE that also will serve Stark County homeless veterans. One building will serve up to eight male veterans. The other building, which is expected to be ready by the end of the year, will serve up to eight homeless female veterans and their children for up to two years.

Matthew Slater, director of veterans services for Family & Community Services, said the buildings previously had been used by ResCare as group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities. Former Congressman Jim Renacci donated two of the homes to the agency, he said.

Matthew Slater, Director of Veterans Services with Family & Community Services Inc. of Ravenna at The Stark County Veterans Service Commission Honor Home in Canton for veterans who are homeless or who are in transition and are in need of transitional housing.

Funding to operate the homes largely comes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Stark County Veterans Service Commission, which has been involved with developing the Honor Homes, funds two of the beds.

De Ann Williams, director of the Stark County Veterans Service Commission, said the service commission previously put homeless veterans in hotels, but it is moving away from using hotels because the veterans didn’t get the help they needed to find permanent housing like they will at the Honor Homes, she said. The service commission also offers veterans rental assistance for nine months under its Operation Homebound program.

Honor Home

The recently opened four-bedroom Honor Home can house up to eight veterans who can stay for roughly 90 days.



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