Volunteers counting homeless population

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – While many people are asleep early Wednesday morning, volunteers across Ohio are set to take the annual tally of the state’s homeless population.

It’s a requirement for local governments that receive federal funding from the Continuum of Care program run by Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“There’s not just one person,” said Nicole Adkins, executive director of With God’s Grace. “There’s kids out there that’s homeless. And there’s elderly, veterans.”

Nicole Adkins has seen the county’s homeless population firsthand. With her mobile food pantry, she serves up to 275 homeless people across the Miami Valley each week, she said.

“I think a lot of [people] in Montgomery County and just in general doesn’t realize how many homeless [are] in our county,” she said.

“I think people would be surprised to think that on any given night in Montgomery County, there are 500 people who don’t have permanent housing,” said Kathleen Shanahan of Homeless Solutions of Montgomery County.

According to Shanahan, that’s how many people were counted last year to be homeless, both living in shelters and on the streets. That number was a decrease from the year before, she added.

Five teams of volunteers are covering different parts of the county to get the homeless population counted, Shanahan explained.

“We do want to make sure that we’re counting as many people as we can so we really have that picture of how many people need permanent housing in our community wherever they may be,” she said.

Volunteers are also visiting local organizations to spread the word about resources to help the homeless, Shanahan said.

Nicole Adkins said she wants officials try to find out why so many people are without a home.

“I really think if everybody knows how much is out there and how many homeless we have, they could better consult the community to be able to help the families that are homeless,” Adkins said.

The count gets underway at 3:45 Wednesday morning, Shanahan said. The annual count is required nationwide by the Department of Housing and Urban Development within the last ten days of January, she added.

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