Transitional housing for the homeless of the Ogden area will soon be open for business, thanks to a $863,882 grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency.

Your Community Connection, formerly the YWCA, recently received word that the grant was approved and the money will be allocated over a five-year period.YCC public affairs coordinator Ruth Keipp said transitional housing is an "innovative" project to help people improve their lives.

Keipp said the YCC applied for the federal grant in an attempt to help homeless women and their children get back on their feet. She said she expects the new YCC center will assist up to 300 homeless people a year.

"As soon as we have our staff in place, we'll be ready to go," she said. "I hope we see a lot of community support for it because it's (homeless families) a serious problem."

According to a Homelessness in Utah 1986 survey, between 1,000 and 2,500 people are homeless in this state on any given day. Of those, 25 percent are families.

Getting the funding wasn't easy. Last year the YCC cried foul when HUD turned down a funding request.

At the time, Keipp said she suspected the YCC was turned down for funding because money targeted for low-income and homeless shelters went instead into the pockets of federal employees and wealthy businessmen who were friends with HUD officials. Since then, HUD has been under legal and congressional scrutiny.

But now that the funding is in place, Keipp said the YCC is ready to go. Part of the money will be used to renovate an apartment building next to the YCC facility that will be used to house homeless families. Five apartments are ready for occupancy.

Keipp said homeless families can live in the complex for up to two years, and money will be used for educating and providing job skills to homeless people. Transitional housing is an attempt to bridge the gap between emergency shelter and permanent housing, she added, and return the homeless to the social/economic mainstream.