Group searches for homeless in Dayton overnight

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Montgomery County officials spent the overnight hours searching for those who are homeless in our area.

Our work day does not normally start at 3:45 in the morning,” says Kathleen Shanahan, the Housing and Homeless Solutions Program Coordinator for Montgomery County.

Five teams of volunteers from the county, local organizations, and even Dayton Police spent Wednesday looking for people who are homeless.

Every year during last ten days of January, HUD requires communities across the country to do a one-night count of how many people are experiencing homelessness,” says Shanahan.

The group met at St. Vincent de Paul and then canvassed designated areas through Dayton, looking under bridges and in the woods.

I always hope that it’s a lower number,” says Shanahan.

Shanahan says since 2015, the number of people experiencing homelessness in the county has decreased. In 2019, they counted 577 people experiencing homelessness; a majority of them were in shelters, but a few dozen were sleeping outside.

When someone is sleeping outside there is something else going on,” states Shanahan. “I would like to dispel the myth that it’s just — well you know people are just choosing to sleep outside like that’s just a choice.”

The county tracks data throughout the year, giving them a better idea of the scope of the issue. The count is one step forward in helping to eliminate the problem.

The final numbers will be released in March.

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