DARKE COUNTY – Jan. 22 is the next Point-In-Time study of a 24-hour period to tally the number of sheltered homeless and those persons who are homeless and cannot be surveyed. There are individuals living in cars, campgrounds, under bridges or other locations throughout the county. Homelessness is not just in Greenville. Even the smallest town in Darke County has those that are not sheltered.
The history of this study dates back to September 2004 when the Darke County Continuum of Care was created and dedicated to ending homelessness within our communities. The intent is to raise awareness of the factors that put people at risk, working together in addressing all contributing factors and securing necessary support services to assist individuals and families in maintaining safe, affordable and decent housing.
The purpose of the local Continuum of Care is the framework for a comprehensive array of outreach, emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, and supportive services to address the varying needs of persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The local plan is also a prerequisite to applying for federal housing grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Other funding entities such as state and local governments are also requiring the sign off from the local Continuum of Care. With the efforts of the Darke County Continuum of Care, additional funding has been made available to Darke County to prevent homelessness and to assist those who are homeless to find stable housing.
Melissa Sparks, chair of the Continuum of Care, stated, “This year, the local Point-In-Time Study will be required to report on the number of persons in each household type by age category (under age 18, age 18 to 24, and over age 24). We will also be required to report both the number of one-child households and the number of multi-child households. Other places we are contacting include veterans’ organizations, nursing homes, hotels, churches, the homeless shelters, and many social service agencies. We also will be required to report on the number of sheltered and unsheltered persons who are chronically homeless individuals; chronically homeless families; veterans; sheltered and unsheltered female veterans; severely mentally ill; chronic substance abuse; and persons with HIV/AIDS.”
She explained, “The importance of the study is to try and recognize the barriers that people face and to help them before they become homeless. The Darke County Emergency Homeless assisted 106 individuals in 2012, up from 78 in 2011. There were 70 households assisted, logging 1308 nights spent at the shelter and 2,616 meals served.” Sparks asked that if anyone knows of someone who is homeless or living in a camper in the backyard on Jan. 22 to call the CAP office. The point of contact for the P-I-T study is Community Action Partnership (CAP), 1469 Sweitzer St., Greenville, OH 45331, 548-8143.
|Shown is the area under the bridge on North Broadway in last year’s P-I-T study in late January, revealing items that indicate someone had been sleeping there.|