Homelessness

Faith leaders and advocates for the poor are calling on the federal government to do something to reform payday lending.

An advocate for the homeless in Central Ohio says Ohio’s laws that crack down on payday lenders have been ineffective at curbing some of the predatory lending practices. Bill Faith says payday lenders are finding ways to get around those new laws by using other areas of Ohio’s lending laws.

“They have exploited those loopholes and we have tried multiple ways to close those loopholes,” he said.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

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.

Funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development are providing some additional support for the homeless. WYSO’s Jerry Kenney has the details.

Nearly $700,000 dollars are coming to Montgomery County HUD agencies. Debbie Watts Robinson is CEO with Miami Valley Housing Opportunities.

MVHO received $325,000 in grant money – that will go towards the purchase of 12 housing units for single adults with disabilities.

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.

Dayton Pastor Goes Homeless for Thirty Days

Feb 24, 2011

Homelessness in Montgomery County is on the rise. The two biggest shelters reported a 12 percent increase in need last year. But some people aren't in the shelters at all. They're living on the streets. For a pastor in Dayton the homeless problem has become personal. Ryan Riddel spent the month of January living in a van in downtown Dayton. As Emily McCord reports, Riddell chose to live this way to understand the lives of the homeless better.