Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Agency to receive $87,100 to assist victims of AIDS
The funding is for rent,
mortgage and utility
By ASHLEY TATE
YOUNGSTOWN Meridian Services Inc. in Mahoning County will receive an $87,100 grant to assist people living with AIDS in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Jefferson and Mahoning counties.
The nonprofit organization is a diverse, community-based, behavioral health-care agency that provides addiction treatment to individuals and families affected by chemical dependencies and mental-health-related issues.
Larry Moliterno, the organization's CEO, said they originally received the grant funding 11 to 12 years ago to provide a type of hospice for people living with AIDS, but because of the success of the medication, the need to provide that type of housing wasn't needed anymore.
He said the individuals with AIDS were living healthier lives and the organization recognized the needs of those people had changed.
Instead, Moliterno said, "most of the funding we get now is for direct housing assistance and not the actual housing itself."
The funds will enable Meridian Services to provide rental, mortgage and utility assistance to 148 houses and supportive services to 10 houses, according to an Ohio Department of Development news release.
Moliterno said they provide housing for the homeless, which includes three transitional programs, to help curb poverty and homelessness in Mahoning County. They have an adolescent residential treatment program for boys with alcohol and drug addictions.
Besides providing housing assistance, Moliterno said they provide prevention programs for all schools in Mahoning County.
Meridian Services also is one of four agencies in Ohio that is certified to provide treatment for people with gambling addictions, Moliterno said.
He said the agency recently received a grant for about $105,000 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide housing assistance for veterans living with chemical dependencies.
Meridian Services was one of six Ohio agencies to receive grants totaling $1,051,000 to provide some type of housing assistance to people living with AIDS.