Shelter for homeless veterans to be built in Kent

Dave Yochum

Homeless veterans will have a new place to sleep in Portage County.

Last night, the Kent Planning Commission granted Family and Community Services Inc. a construction permit for a new building for the Freedom House, a shelter that will offer homeless veterans 14 beds and a place to stay for three to 18 months. The Freedom House will be located near the Miller Community House, an established homeless shelter with 22 beds.

Representatives from Family and Community Services said the Miller House has been operating near full capacity for the past six to 12 months, and that there is a community need for a veterans shelter.

“The shelter will be an independent structure, but connected to the Miller House by corridor for easy staff access,” said Carole Beaty, director of shelter services. “It will also be handicap accessible.”

Beaty said Family and Community Services received a $387,887 grant through the Department of Veterans Affairs to build the Freedom House, which will be open to veterans returning from Iraq.

The planning commission also announced last night that Mian Inc., a group looking to operate a “skilled entertainment machine arcade” in University Plaza, withdrew its permit application for the plaza site.

The company intended to install about 50 machines in an empty tenant space, but City of Kent Police Chief James Peach advised the planning commission that “machines such as those are not skill-based, but rather games of chance.”

Mian Inc. had not presented any evidence to the planning commission that its games would be skill-based or could be legally operated in Ohio.

Contact public affairs reporter David Yochum at [email protected].