TROY — With the recent frigid temperatures, the local homeless population is especially susceptible to the dangers of cold weather.
The Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County, Inc. works to not only offer safety to those suffering from domestic violence, but to provide refuge from the cold for those who are without shelter.
The FAS agency offers several programs for those in need, including the Franklin and Buckeye Houses for homeless men, women and families; permanent supportive housing for individuals with disabling conditions; legal advocacy and support for victims of domestic violence; and rapid rehousing assistance for homeless families and individuals.
The Buckeye House offers a program for homeless men. The goal is to provide shelter while assisting individuals in getting their finances, job, and housing in order. The goal is to do so within 40 days or less.
“We’re a short-term shelter,” said Buckeye House supervisor Danielle Sweitzer. “We’re not just a place for people to sleep and eat; we do have a program, so our clients are expected to gain employment or some sort of income and work the program.”
Sweitzer said clients are offered assistance with applying for benefits such as food stamps and medical care, along with other services within the county, including counseling, addiction services, and mental health services, as needed.
“We also help them find rides, so once they do start working, we can connect them with programs within the county to get them to and from work,” she said. “Clients are assigned a case manager when they enter our program and they’re working on goals while they’re in the shelter.”
According to Sweitzer, bed availability changes daily, so men in need are encouraged to contact the shelter directly, at 339-2801, to check for open spots.
The Franklin House operates similarly, with the addition of domestic violence services, according to Barb Holman, director of the FAS agency.
During periods when there are more clients in need than there are beds, Holman said the agency will work to find a solution.
“When we have to prioritize between domestic violence and homeless, we always try to work out an arrangement for homeless, even if it’s temporary, so we can get the domestic violence victims to safety first,” she said. “Sometimes, with the homeless population, we can offer some case management and if we’re able to talk to family, we can see if they’re able to stay with them for a couple of days until we have a bed that frees up.”
It’s important to note, Holman said, that help is available even for those who are not staying within the shelter.
“If people are needing help, there are programs out there to help; even if we aren’t the right program, we have partner agencies and we can hopefully get people hooked up to the right services,” she said. “You don’t have to be in our shelter to receive our case management services.”
To inquire about services and/or shelter at the Franklin House, call 339-6761 during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For help outside of those times, call the crisis hotline, at (800) 351-7347.
“Dick Steineman, of the St. Patrick’s Soup Kitchen, also operates a cold shelter that’s for individuals who are on the streets,” Holman added. “If we don’t have room, he’ll work with individuals.”
Steineman asks those who are in need of immediate shelter from the cold to contact him directly, at (937) 451-1723.