Highland County commissioners recognize Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
Highland County commissioners proclaimed Nov. 11-18 as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in Highland County during their Wednesday, Nov. 15 meeting. Pictured (l-r) are commissioners David Daniels and Brad Roades; Highland County Homeless Shelter administrative director Tammy Dennis; Innergex community and government relations representative Janet Grothe; and commissioner Terry Britton. (HCP Photo/Caitlin Forsha)
Highland County commissioners Terry Britton, David Daniels and Brad Roades proclaimed the week of Nov. 11-18 as Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in Highland County during their Wednesday, Nov. 15 meeting.
Accepting the proclamation was administrative director Tammy Dennis of the Highland County Homeless Shelter, who spoke about the shelter’s services and also celebrated a recent donation to the shelter from Innergex.
According to hhweek.org, “Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an annual program where people come together across the country to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness. Participating groups spend the week holding a series of educational, service, fundraising and advocacy events.”
The Highland County Homeless Shelter is open 365 days a year and offers 28 beds for local men, women and children for a maximum of 90 days.
“We are the only emergency shelter here in Highland County,” Dennis said. “We work [with clients] on income, and then we try to focus on barriers because we are seeing clients who are repeating. We're really taking a focus on that right now, more so than what we have in the past, referring them to any service even if it's out of county, whatever can end that cycle.
“We then work on housing, and with some of the housing that has recently been built, it has definitely helped with our housing.”
The shelter is located at 145 Homestead Avenue in Hillsboro. The shelter accepts monetary donations, which can be done directly at the shelter’s website at https://www.highlandcountyhomelessshelter.com.
As mentioned, one such donation was made recently by Innergex, as their community and government relations representative Janet Grothe also attended the meeting. Innergex is the developer for both the Hillcrest Solar farm in Brown County as well as the 200 MW Palomino Solar project in Highland County.
“Innergex made a monetary donation of 15,000,” Dennis told commissioners. “Five thousand was for the purchase of new beds, because we’ve had the beds for several years, and $10,000 goes into everyday funds, operating costs.”
Britton thanked Innergex “for the gracious donation” to the shelter.
“We're very, very impressed with Tammy and her team and how they work so closely with their clients to do individualized services,” Grothe said. “There's so many things that contribute to homelessness — local drug use, domestic violence and economic conditions — and we really believe that everyone deserves to have a roof over their head. We salute everything that Tammy and her team have done to mitigate homelessness here in Highland County.”
In addition, RiverHills Bank, located in Milford, is matching donations to the shelter, up to $1,000, through Nov. 30, as noted by Dennis. The HCHS is also collecting non-perishable food items for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
If you are in need of the Homeless Shelter’s services, you can call (937) 393-0634 or (937) 402-4433, Dennis added.
“We're a staff member of two, 8 [a.m.] to 4 [p.m.], but we are on call 24 hours and have several times throughout the night assisted those in need,” Dennis said. “Office hours don't matter.”
For more information on the Highland County Homeless Shelter and their services, visit https://www.highlandcountyhomelessshelter.com or https://www.facebook.com/highlandcountyhomelessshelter.
After meeting with Dennis and Grothe, Roades read the proclamation recognizing Nov. 11-18 as National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and “encouraging all citizens to recognize that many people do not have housing and need support from citizens and private, public and nonprofit service entities.”
Also during Wednesday’s meeting:
• In unrelated solar news, commissioners voted 3-0 to approve a Roadway Use, Repair, and Maintenance Agreement (RUMA) between the Highland County Engineer’s Office and Dodson Creek Solar, LLC.
As previously reported, Dodson Creek, developed by National Grid Renewables, is expected to be an up to 117 megawatt (MW) solar development spanning approximately 1,429 acres in Dodson and Hamer townships. It was approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board in September 2022.
Engineer Chris Fauber, as well as Chris Snider of National Grid Renewables, were both present for Wednesday’s meeting.
“It’s the same RUMA we've signed with other solar farm projects,” Fauber said. “Chris and his team have worked to try to limit access on as many of the county and township roads as they could, so hopefully a little less impact.”
Daniels also asked if progress was “going along pretty well” on road repairs for other areas impacted by solar projects.
“We completed most of the repairs for the winter ahead of schedule, for Willowbrook and for New Market 1 and 2 and for Highland Solar,” Fauber said.
• Commissioners held a bid opening for snow removal services on county property. They received one bid, from Parry Landscaping.
For snow removal and ice melt, the quote was $200 for the Highland County Courthouse, $75 for the Highland County Administration Building and $75 for the walkway through Beech Street. For ice melt only, it was $113, $56 and $56, respectively.
No action was taken, pending further review.
• Commissioners approved a quote from Cornele Plumbing to replace/repair a roof drain at the Highland County Administration Building. The current roof drain is cast iron, and they have been unable to find a contractor to fix it because it goes “through the building,” according to Britton.
“It comes from the roof all the way down to the basement and then out to the street, and it is leaking,” Britton said. “It's been leaking for quite a while. We’ve been trying to get some contractors in here and take a look. There's been a number of them contacted, but nobody wants to bid on it because it's kind of a nasty job.”
Britton said that Cornele Plumbing submitted a quote of $3,875 to “replace all that cast-iron pipe and put new in. It won’t be cast iron, it’ll be something that won’t rust.”
Daniels moved to accept the quote and “get it started.” Roades seconded, saying, “I’ve been hearing about that since I’ve been here.” (He took office in January.)
• Britton discussed a recent letter from South Central Power on connectSCP, a new fiber internet service offering for South Central Power customers.
“Basically, connectSCP has been contracted by South Central Power to do all the internet work, running all the fiber optics throughout the county in their region,” Britton said. “They are estimating 30 months it's going take to get this done, so you're going to see them in the area, plus, they've got other counties that they’ll be working on, too.”
As noted in the packet from SCP, the company has received nearly $30 million for Highland and surrounding counties, as well as over $68 million for eastern Ohio.
“South Central, the last time I talked to them, said that they were they were going to provide service to every meter in their service territory,” Daniels said. “At least that was at the meeting that I attended a few months ago. There’s some stuff going on with some duplicate awards that I think that BroadbandOhio and RDOF have to work out, but nevertheless, they are they're working on it.”
According to the SCP packet, construction is underway, and “the service will be commercially available by the summer of 2024.”
“I passed three of their vehicles this morning on the way to work, so they are stringing fiber and have been for a couple of months,” Daniels said.
For more information, go to connectscp.com.
• After their regular meeting, commissioners entered an executive session regarding personnel with Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins and Highland County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brandon Stratton. No action was taken.
Commissioners also approved the following resolutions, each by a 3-0 vote.
• An additional appropriation from unappropriated funds within the Soil and Water, 2070 budget in the amount of $39,192.
• An additional appropriation from unappropriated funds within the Emergency Management Agency, 2780 budget in the amount of $25,696.34.
• A budget modification within the County General (1000) in the amount of $123,000.
• A budget modification within Auditor’s Real Estate Assessment (2055) in the amount of $35,000.
• A resolution to authorize Highland County Job and Family Services Director Jeremy Ratcliff the authority to release and accept funds per OAC 5101:9-6-82, for an intercounty adjustment of allocations through the calendar year of 2024.
• A request for transfer from PA Grant to 2050 Public Assistance in the amount of $58,308 for TANF County Share for 2024.
• A budget modification within County General (1000) in the amount of $1,500.
• A resolution agreeing to the reappointment of Stephen Hunter to the Highland County District Library Board of Trustees for a seven-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2024 and expiring Dec. 31, 2030.
• A budget modification within Board of DD (2100) in the amount of $15,000.
• A budget modification within the Board of DD (2100) in the amount of $30,000.
• A budget modification within Board of DD Help Me Grow (2490) in the amount of $1,000.
• A budget modification from 2100 Board of DD to Transfers Out in the amount of $20,000. Also authorized is a transfer from Transfers Out to 2125 Community Residential in the amount of $112,136.
• A budget modification within County General (1000) in the amount of $5,000.
• An additional appropriation from unappropriated funds within the Community Residential DD, 2125 budget in the amount of $112,136.
For more from Wednesday’s meeting, see the stories at: