Coleman Widens Reach in Mahoning Valley

By Stacia Erdos
Regional Development Executive

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – From helping homeless clients find a home, to partnering with Warren City Schools and Youngstown State University, Coleman Health Services is making strides in the right direction in the Mahoning Valley.

In 2023, the nonprofit served more than 5,000 mostly low-income individuals with serious mental health issues in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Catherine Chudakoff is the new chief officer of Coleman’s Warren and Youngstown sites. Chudakoff, who has 12 years’ experience in the field of social work, had been serving as project director for Coleman’s behavioral health clinics in six Ohio counties.

Among her first tasks was hiring new directors and bringing both locations to full staff with additional therapists and case managers. More clients are now working one-on-one with case managers who help them remove barriers to getting well – providing transportation, food, clothing and financial help.

Coleman emphasizes treating the whole person and that means making sure those struggling with their mental health have a roof over their head and employment opportunities.

“With increased staff, we’ve been able to reduce caseloads, to better provide the level of care clients need,” Chudakoff says. “I’m passionate about helping people find their worth and full potential, especially those who have been historically marginalized and excluded from full participation.”

In Trumbull County, Coleman manages a rental subsidy program on behalf of the Trumbull Mental Health and Recovery Board. Funds are used to assist formerly homeless clients pay their rent and utilities. Coleman also assisted 250 households last year with security deposits, utility hookups, first month rent, furnishings and necessities needed to move into homes. 

Coleman has two staff members who help with affordable housing. A housing navigator funded through the mental health board works with shelters, missions and those living on the streets or in places not meant for human habitation. The navigator helped 123 families and individuals obtain documents to access housing and resources, then followed up for 30 days to ensure they were settled. 

Coleman also provides a family housing navigator in the Warren City Schools. The navigator works with families experiencing homelessness or are at significant risk for homelessness and has helped 52 families find homes.

One growing area is Coleman’s Mobile Response and Stabilization Services in Trumbull County. The MRSS team responds to youth in crisis – in their home or at school. This allows mental health professionals to respond and assess the child, leaving police free for other emergencies.

Coleman has launched a Recovery to Work project in both counties –funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the mental health board.  A new employment coordinator is reaching out to employers to match job candidates in recovery with jobs.

And through foundation funding, Coleman has extended its partnership with Youngstown State University to treat students in need of counseling free of charge.

Coleman’s CEO, Hattie Tracy, has made racial equity and mental health awareness a priority. Its Unmute the Uncomfortable community dialog draws hundreds of professionals, community advocates and students. 2023’s event featured former NBA Champion Metta World Peace (Ron Artest.)  On April 26, Coleman will welcome former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms as the keynote speaker.

Coleman was founded in 1978 in Portage County and now employs 66 in the Mahoning Valley. The agency has more than 800 employees and serves 29,000 clients across Ohio.