YOUNGSTOWN – Mahoning County commissioners allocated more than $ 2 million of its $ 44 million US bailout fund at their meeting on Thursday, but none were easier to see and understand than the 50 $ 000 they donated to the St. Augustine Society of Youngstown to help keep it running. its work placement and life-skills training program at Café Augustine.
The nonprofit will use the $ 50,000 to purchase the building where the program participants live. The current owners of the building decided to sell, and the Société Saint-Augustin hated finding another location.
Reverend Edward Brienz explained the purpose of the cafe at 3730 Market St., inside the Newport Library branch, on the south side as a restaurant that helps “people who grew up in homes that didn’t not necessarily have a history of employment and are not necessarily very successful in their careers.
Young people aged 16 to 20 work in the cafe, which is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday and serves meals such as burgers, chicken salad sandwiches, soup, stuffed cabbage, shrimp and haddock.
Brienz, who is the executive director of the company, which he founded in 2015, said the company found that the young people they worked with did well in their working environment at the café, but found it difficult to ensure consistency in their family life.
So when a former girls’ home located at 2125 Glenwood Ave. closed, the company began renting it out in order to provide its employees with a place to live with the help of volunteers.
“We found this to be an important part because when our kids come home now they have heating, they have air conditioning in the summer. They have running water, hot water, washing machines, soap, and staff – mostly volunteers – who help keep them on track. “
The house provided stability to their workers for about four years, but the owner decided to sell.
“It would have ripped the guts out of our program,” Brienz said. “We have had over 350 young people in our program over the past seven years,” he said. “We have buried at least 14 of them,” he said bluntly of the difficult lives many of their workers live.
“We had so many people who came into the house for varying lengths of time for whatever they needed, that we didn’t want to see him lost,” he said of the residence, called Augustine House. .
Brienz thanked the commissioners for funding the acquisition of the property.
“We need this stability. Commissioners give us that stability, especially during times of COVID. Many of our grants have dried up.
He said the cafe had closed for a while due to COVID-19, so they transferred some of the workers to healthcare.
“We transferred them to nursing homes and other types of jobs to teach them flexibility, adaptability,” he said.
Other recipients of ARP funds included $ 1.75 million to continue improvements to the Campus of Care on Countyline Road in Austintown, the former Youngstown Developmental Center.
The commissioners allocated the money to the Western Reserve Port Authority, which manages the facility on behalf of the county commissioners.
The funds will cover $ 700,000 in asphalt resurfacing, $ 120,000 in water, sewer, electrical and plumbing upgrades, $ 100,000 in sound and lighting system upgrades. , $ 575,000 for work on residential units and $ 250,000 for a commercial greenhouse.
The commissioners also appointed four people to serve on the Mahoning County Planning Commission.
Robert J. Lidle, Lou Zarlenga and Scott “Tim” Marucci will serve three-year terms. Lawyer John McNally IV, former mayor of Youngstown and former Mahoning County commissioner, has been appointed to serve the unexpired term of Angelo Pignatelli with immediate effect until December 31, 2022.