Providing help for homeless people in the Columbus area took a step forward with opening of an emergency shelter last year. The community is poised to take another step forward with a proposed permanent supportive housing complex for homeless people.

The city and two local agencies, Thrive Alliance and Centerstone Behavioral Health, are partnering on the project. Helping those with substance abuse and mental health disorders is a focus of the initiative, as well as veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Already significant progress has been made. Thrive Alliance signed a purchase agreement last month for the former Faith Victory Church, an 18,696-square-foot building at 1703 Home Ave., which would serve as the housing complex, which would contain 20 to 25 apartment units.

Centerstone will provide tenants with case managers that will teach them life skills, medication, therapy and links to volunteer physicians.

Members of this initiative have completed five months of extensive training through the Indiana Supportive Housing Institute.

Doing so made the initiative eligible for funding from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Association to maintain the apartment complex.

The amount the initiative will receive will be learned by late fall.

Providing to those who are homeless and struggling with issues such as PTSD, mental health disorders and drug addiction a supportive place to live gives them needed stability for the time they need to work through and overcome their problems.

Establishing such a housing complex also provides an important extra layer of help in addition to Brighter Days, the 36-bed emergency shelter that has operated at 421 S. Mapleton St. for the past year.

The proposed supportive housing initiative would be a positive step for the community, which has its share of individuals who are struggling with homelessness and/or drug abuse and need help and a place to get back on their feet.

Offering such an additional lifeline is a sign that this community cares about those who are in need of help, and is willing to provide resources that can be life-changing.

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