Better-Families, Intact, Residing Successfully Together Permanent Supportive Housing (“B-FIRST PSH”) project is a collaborative effort resulting from the 2014 Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) Study on the housing needs for homeless in Stark County, the Continuum of Care (CoC) Governing Board, and Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s Capital Funding Initiative to End Homelessness (OFHA’s CFIEH), and Alliance for Children and Families, Inc. (ACF). ACF developed the conceptual model during a 9-month CSH Leadership Institute (participation fee funded by Sisters of Charity Foundation), with collaborative partners, such as churches, mental health providers, and formerly homeless persons. Additionally, research, HUD guidelines for housing first engagement model for families, and prioritizing serving the most vulnerable chronic families first were also taken into consideration for the design concept. This concept has been a working model in Stark County with successful outcomes since the development of Alliance-Families Intact Residing Successfully Together (“A-FIRST PSH Project”), aka “The Mastroianni Family Center”, in Alliance, Ohio.
B-FIRST will now provide the same project model, only be located in the 500 block of Linwood Avenue, SW area of Canton, to address the homeless family populations for other regions of Stark County. All families being served by this project have at least one adult head-of-household with a disabling condition and have a minor child or children in the home. On-site will be a wellness clinic, multipurpose room, counseling, self-sufficiency programs, outreach, tutorial and educational services, community based programs, parenting, security, mental health services, enrichment programs and activities. The project takes a holistic approach to housing homeless families with as many wraparound supportive services for engaging the tenants and their children as possible and without the barrier of transportation.