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Program helps homeless, mentally ill people find shelter

2-18-2015 Ohio:

There are thousands of homeless people in the Miami Valley, including hundreds who are mentally ill and lack the mental capacity or physical ability to get to a shelter during inclement weather like the one the area is experiencing.

But a program operated by the Miami Valley Housing Opportunities has been helping those people find shelter and get their lives back on track for more than 20 years.

“We drive through town and look for people who don’t know how to get to a shelter or are unable to travel to one,” said Andrea McGriff, the director of Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness or PATH. “We also provide bus tokens.”

PATH, started in 1991, is funded by a $25,000 federal grant, she said. They use the funds to transport people to St. Vincent De Paul Homeless Shelters in Dayton.

The program helps transport 220 men, 150 women and 80 children, many of whom are younger than 6, said St. Vincent De Paul Executive Director David Bohardt.

“If a person has lived in a family where they have experienced consecutive generations of poverty, escaping that becomes extraordinarily difficult,” he said.

St. Vincent De Paul checks their guests for weapons and drug paraphernalia before they allow them to enter one of their shelters. They also prohibit registered sex offenders from entering their facilities.

“We work closely with Dayton police to keep everyone safe,” said Bohardt. “We have security 24 hours a day and seven days a week.”

PATH also provides G.E.D. classes, resume writing workshops and job skills training to help people support their families.

“No one loves being homeless. Everyone wants to be independent,” said Bohardt.

If you know or see someone in the community who is unable to find shelter from the severe whether call PATH at 937-559-2263 while the person who is in need is with you. Path outreach workers are available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ..Source.. by Malik Perkins

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