ICAN assistance programs.

Operating as a HUD approved agency and a leading charity in Stark County, the non-profit ICAN is committed to helping the vulnerable. The organization will offer support to working poor as part of the Housing Crisis Response program. They even offer apartments for the formerly homeless and address other needs of the low income.

People that are homeless or living in poverty are some of the main clients of ICAN’s Outreach and PATH service. Staff from the organization seek out individuals on the street or that are living in local shelters. Other clients may be domestic violence survivor or even single parents with children. The intent is to support people who are completely on their own and that do not have any other support system to help them meet emergency needs.

ICAN Housing supplies these individuals with needed items, such as emergency shelter, food vouchers, money for security deposits and bus passes. In addition, those who participate in Outreach or PATH programs have access to Homeless Care Kits. These are for personal hygiene needs and they contain socks, soap, shampoo, hand wipes, toilet tissue, healthy snacks, and other items, as available.

The Drop In Center at the main office is a warm, safe, secure spot. It is for the vulnerable, including the  homeless. People can use the site to escape extreme weather conditions in Ohio or to just get a hot cup of coffee. A case manager is also available for those seeking employment, or they can offer guidance to those looking for updates on hot meal site schedules, clothing giveaways, and other useful information. Bus passes to a job interview in Stark County are also issued from the site.

ICAN is also a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Safe Haven agency. So they offer the Basic Accommodations Program, which serves hard-to-reach homeless adults with severe mental illness. This is done the goal of stabilizing their lives and addressing the cause of any underlying mental health issues so that they can transition into independent housing.

Most of the clients of this service have a history of being unable or unwilling to participate in housing programs. So for them, Basic Accommodations is their first destination after living on the streets. Applications for the resource are reviewed by program staff members and on-site supportive service providers. While this is not intended as permanent housing, there is no limit in regard to how long participants may stay. When ready to leave, people can be referred to benefits in Ohio, such as SSDI applications to emergency funds for moving costs.




The Housing Crisis Response Program, or HCRP, is for applicants that have a very low income. They also need to be suffering from a disabling mental illness and need to be homeless. If they meet those conditions, the next step is to complete a pre-screening for the purpose of assessing housing needs and determining how likely it is that the applicant has the ability to become self-sufficient.

Once accepted into the ICAN housing program, the participant is required to develop a plan for reaching the goal of self-sufficiency within at most two years. They need to have a job, rebuild credit, and meet other conditions. Also, applicant must also document progress in their efforts to meet income goals on a quarterly basis.

The ICAN Rental Assistance Program provides financial help with rent for very low-income individuals and families who have been affected by a mental illness or a disability. To receive a grant from this, ICAN Housing requires verification of disability and encourages tenants to to participate in treatment services.

This form of financial assistance is limited to ICAN owned properties located throughout Stark County Ohio. To qualify for any form of rental assistance or even a loan from the non-profit, an individual must be homeless or in an emergency shelter.

Westpark is another resource. This was created to be part of ICAN’s Supportive Housing Program. This is a development where monthly rent is based on each tenant’s income. To qualify for this program, applicants must verify that they are disabled, with proof from their doctor. In addition, in order to be placed into an apartment, the income level must be at or below the income limits established by HUD.





Rent subsidized apartments are part of the HUD 811 service. This is federally funded, and it provides housing for single adults with severe disabilities who also meet very low income limits. Housing is available at two ICAN locations in Start County, and they include the city of Canton and Alliance. While HUD 811 does not require that an applicant be homeless to receive financial assistance, preference is given to those who are homeless.

The Veteran Family Homes Program in another option in Stark County. The non-profit provides housing for low to moderate-income veteran families. There is a cost involved, and the tenant will need to pay up to 30 percent of household income for the rent.

Residents of any of these low income apartments or rent subsidy programs gain other support as well. They will have access to tenant services that ensure long-term success once they move into stable housing. Services include legal aid, home visits, lease training, job placement and interventions in cases of lease violations that may lead to eviction.

ICAN operates across Start County. The main office is at 1214 Market Ave. N., Canton , Ohio 44714-2604. Call 330-455-9100 for more details on services available.




By Jon McNamara

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