DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Wednesday, the deep freeze continued to gripped the Miami Valley.
By nightfall, temperatures dropped below 10 degrees, and with the wind chill factor those outdoors felt the biting effects of sub-zero conditions.
And yet, despite the dangerously cold weather, every day a group assembles in Dayton to seek out those who won’t have a warm shelter by the time the conditions worsen.
Project for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) makes the rounds throughout many hotspots for those who are at risk of being homeless or are homeless.
PATH, an initiative through Miami Valley Housing Opportunities (MVHO), leads community outreach to those endangered, and in doing so organizers hope to find a permanent solution so that people who are homeless or at-risk don’t face the extreme dangers of cold weather.
The small group of MVHO employees start their day, and eventually will assemble at a location in the late afternoon.
From there, they strategize and decide where they will pinpoint and whether they will access those areas by driving then scouting or by walking the entire area.
Throughout this process, PATH team members communicate with other organizations, in hopes of tracking down people they’ve contacted before while out in the field.
Wednesday, PATH Director Andrea McGriff mapped out her plans, and while doing so she received good news from a partnering organization.
A woman, who PATH has often tried to assist, is found safe at a nearby shelter.
And now, the group begins its work, walking the path very few seek out and calling out to the men and women they’ve now befriended.
Every day, the group finds someone camped out in dangerously cold conditions.
“This is a time when people can make poor decision that risk their lives. It really is– it could be a deadly situation that they’re in,” McGriff said.
PATH often finds people in the wooded areas, where most may overlook, or under the overpasses where most will never look.
But that’s exactly where this group goes, because McGriff believes, “It’s very important because what we’re doing is trying help and offer services to the community’s most vulnerable people.”
The director has done this work for more than a decade; she tells 2 NEWS’ Beairshelle Edmé that it that can be anyone who needs help, a person down on their luck or someone suffering from substance abuse, mental illness or unemployment.
But no matter the circumstance behind a person’s current situation, the group will walk to you and with you.
It’s a mission PATH team member Camory Brantley carries on her shoulders; she too was once homeless, needing hope and help.
Brantley says her life was filled with questions, but initiatives and groups like PATH helped.
“I went on and got an education and got degrees,” Brantley proudly said. “And if it wasn’t for Andrea giving me this opportunity– that’s what gives me the chance to give back and to let my clients know, ‘I see you where others don’t.'”
Which is why she and others are committed to searching under every rock and every overpass so that no person is left alone when it counts the most.
And despite any setbacks, each PATH team member says they are not often discouraged, but instead motivated to fight homelessness in the Miami Valley.
If you are interested in helping the PATH program either by volunteering or donating items, visit here.