County program aims to find homeless in cold weather to bring them into shelters

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Every day two Montgomery County women go out searching for homeless people hoping to connect them to services.

“We go out seven days a week all year,” said Heather Hotchkiss, Miami Valley Housing Opportunities (MVHO) Outreach Coordinator.

2 NEWS reporter Maytal Levi tagged along with Hotchkiss and another outreach coordinator, Angel Barger Wednesday afternoon in single-digit temperatures. While out searching for people in need they found one man sleeping in a tent near a bridge under the I-75 overpass.

“This is my passion. I wouldn’t do anything else,” said Hotchkiss.
The man in need wasn’t willing to be connected to services, but the duo left behind a blanket, some snacks and a backpack filled with supplies like socks and a hat.
“We will check on him again before the day is over,” said Hotchkiss.
She says the encourage people to seek shelter and get out of the cold and if they choose not to they’ll offer them supplies.

“What we do is continue to engage them and build that rapport and relationship. So, we can help them with housing or any other goal they would eventually like to achieve,” said Hotchkiss who has been doing this for two years.

Around the corner from the man’s tent there was another campsite. No one was there, but there were several cushions and a tarp.
“This is probably a tarp made into a tent where people were sleeping and they may have used that cushion as a bed,” said Hotchkiss.
Hotchkiss and Barger are the only full-time employees who work the outreach program. They say MVHO is always in need of donations. For ways to help, click here.

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