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Denial of Ohio house for homeless vets reversed

– A planning commission in the southwestern Ohio city of Middletown has reversed course and approved a plan to provide housing and substance-abuse treatment for homeless veterans trying to put their lives back together.

In a meeting Wednesday night, the commission voted to allow three to five homeless veterans to live in a residential home as they get treatment and look for work. The decision is a reversal from the commission’s vote against the home in August, when panel members said the neighborhood might not be the best fit.

Several neighbors spoke out against the home in August, saying the veterans could exacerbate the area’s existing drug problem. Supporters said the veterans just needed a place to pick themselves back up and would be required to undergo random drug testing in order to stay.

Walter Gilbert, who runs the Dayton-based Holt Street Miracle Center, said the city had given him the run-around when he tried to appeal the commission’s first decision.

Marty Kohler, Middletown’s planning director, said commissioners changed their minds after Gilbert’s attorney told them not all vets would have addiction problems.