DAYTON (WDTN) – Dozens of people from the Miami Valley slept outside on Thursday night to raise awareness about homelessness in the Miami Valley.
The local organization Homefull hosted the event at First Baptist Church on West Monument Avenue.
People from Homefull, along with other community members and several UD students took part in the event, held each year to give those taking part a brief glimpse of what it’s like to be homeless.
“This is a humbling event that does raise awareness for those of us who have to spend the night out, but for so many people, this is more than on evening,” Homefull Chief Strategic Officer Trudy Elder said. “When the weather turns cold, of course, you think about that, because that can be life threatening.”
“Fortunately, in our community, there’s a group of good community partners who work together to make sure that this issue is not forgotten.”
According to Ohio homeless statistics from 2013, more than 1,000 people are considered homeless in Montgomery County alone. Statistics show 18% of those people have families with children.
Elder says Homefull works every day to try and reduce that number.
“Homefull’s god a very bold missiong to end homelessness by providing housing, services, advocacy and education,” Elder said. “Clearly, a night like tonight is both educational and certainly has some advocacy aspects as well.”
Homefull began in 1988 as The Other Place, and has spent the past 28 years helping those in need. Elder says the people who find their way off the streets can become a valuable resource for those who are still struggling.
“You really should ask somebody who’s been through that experience, because if you ask a homeless person, often times referrals for services come from another person who was helped,” Elder said. “So, it’s that pay it forward aspect that often makes a difference.”