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Jackson Street Commons Gives Veterans Needed Housing and Supportive Services

Writer / Matt Keating
Photography Provided

June Beck, the chapter regent for Jackson Street Commons, a program of the Family Service Association of Howard County, Inc. (FSAHC), says the organization has expanded through the kindness of the Kokomo community.Jackson Street Commons

Both Beck an Angie Ciski, director of community services for the FSAHC, feel the generosity has been overwhelming.

“We have been so very blessed with such wonderful people in the Kokomo community who really care about the future of our veterans,” Ciski says. “In May of 2014, Family Service Association of Howard County, Inc. opened Jackson Street Commons to provide permanent, supportive housing to veterans that have been literally homeless, and have a disability or a disabling condition that has been a barrier to maintaining stable housing.”

Jackson Street Commons is an apartment complex with 27 one-bedroom units, and operates under the “Housing First” model, which recognizes that stable housing is the foundation for other health and social-service goals, and that people experiencing chronic homelessness achieve greater success when they have stable housing.

“Family Service Association provides the stable housing piece first, and then easy access to supportive services, for the veterans to work on the barriers that led to their homelessness,” Ciski says.

On-site services include case management, mental-health counseling, support groups, post-traumatic stress disorder services for resident and nonresident veterans, addiction support, employment training, financial counseling and more.

“Jackson Street Commons is permanent housing in the sense that the housing is not time limited,” Ciski says.

Ciski adds that when homeless veterans enter the program, they are no longer homeless, but rather have the rights and responsibilities of leaseholders.

Jackson Street Commons“Many veterans, after having the stable housing and engaging in the supportive services offered, have moved on to maintain permanent housing independently, opening their apartment up for another vulnerable, homeless veteran to benefit in the same way,” Ciski says.

Since opening, Jackson Street Commons has provided housing and supportive services to nearly 70 veterans at the apartment complex. Since opening, the Jackson Street Commons team has endeavored to be a resource for any veteran in need.

“Through grant support from the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, we were able to hire a veterans housing specialist who assists other veterans in the community experiencing homelessness or housing instability,” Ciski says. “In 2021 our region was granted the distinction from the Interagency Council on Homelessness, HUD and the VA for effectively ending veteran homelessness in our region. By no means did Jackson Street Commons work alone, but worked alongside other veteran and homeless service providers to achieve this distinction, and was a spoke in the wheel in our combined work to help homeless veterans.”

Ciski loves her work.

“It has been extremely rewarding to serve those who have served our country,” Ciski says. “As a supportive service provider, it is amazing to see how our resident veterans have been able to thrive with their own health and wellness goals after getting stable housing.”

Ciski adds that more help is always needed.

“Jackson Street Commons has been blessed by tremendous community support over the years and we are very thankful for the continued support,” she says. “Jackson Street Commons also recently has had a transition in leadership with the retirement of our program and property managers, and we are thankful to have Tammy Price and Ron Eller joining the team in these roles.”

Beck says working for Jackson Street Commons has been a very enjoyable experience. It’s been a valuable way for her, and many other members of the Kokomo community, to give something back to those who have sacrificed so much to help their country.

“For me and a lot of other people, it’s the opportunity to say ‘Thank you for your service’ to the men and women,” Beck says. “As citizens of the United States, we, each of us, owe a tremendous amount to all those who gave their all for our freedom.”Jackson Street Commons

The Jackson Street Commons team is always looking for financial donations to keep their program moving in the right direction. To donate or find out more, call 765-236-1002 or check out fsahc.org.

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