In the midst of the ongoing intense cold weather, teams of volunteers are spreading across Montgomery County Wednesday morning for the yearly statewide census of homelessness. The count gives service organizations a snapshot of how many people are on the streets or in shelters on a given night, and it is required for counties that receive affordable housing assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
With temperatures running dangerously low, workers from local shelters are working overtime to get people in off the streets. While hundreds in the Dayton area are experiencing homelessness, most have found a way to be inside.
The gym at the Salvation Army in downtown Springfield has been turned into a temporary warming center.
“If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out,” said a man who goes only by Dave. He was squatting at an empty house, and made plans to come to the warming center after he read the forecast in the paper.
Federal grants totaling more than $10.3 million have been awarded to Ohio agencies to help homeless and at-risk veterans and their families.
Agencies in 36 Ohio counties will use the grants to serve more than 3,000 homeless and at-risk veteran families.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced Friday that $300 million in homeless prevention grants were awarded to 319 community-based groups in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Advocates trying to solve Ohio's problem of homelessness predict it will get worse in the coming months. Bill Faith heads the Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Ohio. He says federal money to help the homeless is running out.
"Ohio got its share of money, almost 66 million dollars, that since 2010 has been used to prevent homelessness for thousands of Ohioans who were on the edge, but that money is beginning to dry up," says Faith.