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ACCESS Closes Transitional Housing in Akron

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This house in Akron is the last one the Step II used. ACCESS closed the program, and the funds that supported it could be used for permanent housing.

A local transitional housing program has closed its doors. Step II was run by ACCESS, a homeless shelter in Akron for women and children. Since its founding 23 years ago, the program offered a temporary place to stay until a permanent home could be found. Residents of the program have been exiting into permanent housing over the past six months.

ACCESS Executive Director Jackie Hemsworth says since 2008 the federal government has encouraged a move away from transitional housing that still classifies people as homeless. She says ending Step II makes the most sense for the community.

Jackie Hemsworth: support for permanent housing

“The better use of these federal dollars right here in our community would be to have those dollars that are supporting Step II to go into those permanent housing programs rather than our transitional housing program,” Hemsworth said.

ACCESS does not operate permanent housing but refers its clients to programs such as Rapid Re-Housing.

ACCESS will continue to run its emergency shelter while it's working to expand its program AfterCare, which aims to help former residents access other services and additional support.