PICKAWAY – The Pickaway Homeless Coalition met last night at the Pickaway library to discuss two goals from the previous month’s meetings. Short term (emergency) response to the homeless and long term (permanent) housing. A majority of the time was spent talking about short term do to winter weather being here.
The Hope House announced that they have made a change and are only hosting male homeless at their location at this time, this change was done because of difficulties in sleeping arrangements of families and not having proper staffing to deal with both male/female. They noted that most of the homeless they have had at the shelter have been male. Usually, the Haven House, who deals with Females and kids situations take in them.
The Hope House reported they are currently housing seven homeless from 9 pm to 9 am at their location on North Court Street. They said that they could expand that population to up to 14 to 18 with more beds; they need metal bunk beds because floor space at the facility is limited. The also talked about running the facility 24 hours, but currently, they do not have enough volunteers, you can find out about volunteering here.
“The Haven House has more ability to get funding because a lot of grants are aimed at domestic violence and women,” said Hope House, “we are looking into more grants to fund the facility, but there are not many out there that fund the facility. Beyond funding, we mostly need volunteers and beds.”
The Haven House of Pickaway was not there last night, but we had a report that they are currently housing 32 women/children at the facility.
Short term Emergency possibility Circleville First Church on East Ohio is considering opening up an emergency facility for when temperatures drop below 32 degrees as a temporary refuge. The pastor was not at the meeting last night to talk directly about this, but they were in contact with him.
The YMCA said they could offer shower facilities to homeless and some minimal washing and drying as they only have one washer and dryer at the location, and it’s used quite frequently for YMCA needs.
There was more discussion on another facility that may be viable as an emergency or permeant location that needs some work to get to the proper level of operation. The facility only has one of three heaters working and only one of three toilets. The owner did say that he would be willing to trade rent for labor to fix these issues and create a viable situation. Currently, that facility would work as emergency shelter; it just can’t heat to entirely comfortable levels, but someone said, “it’s better than sleeping in the weather.”
Several Homeless individuals were at the meeting last night, and they were asked to voice their opinions on the situation. Several men said that one of the most significant issues was storing their backpack that had all of their personal belonging somewhere.
One man said, “taking the backpack into a job interview almost guarantees you won’t get the job.”
Currently, Hope House requires the people who stay there to remove their belongings every day because people who stay there are not guaranteed a bed every day due to more needs that room for the facility, and it’s handled on a first-come, first-served. So another challenge is trying to have some sort of safe storage for backpacks.
Another Homeless man said that two things are holding him back from being employed, he has a felony conviction, and most jobs he needs transportation. He said that most of the jobs he finds are in the Groveport area/Columbus area, and he doesn’t have transportation.
One of the Hope House employees said that moving sometimes is a struggle for the homeless because if they do have a felony conviction, most of them have to check in with probation in the area they are convicted in also, and without transportation, that becomes an issue for moving for your job.
Hope House says they are trying to get the go fund me up and running but having some technical issues. They are a 5013c charity if anyone would like to donate directly to them. You can check out their facebook page to get more details also.