Hundreds left waiting in the cold in Greene County
XENIA, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) – The bitter cold is creating a problem in Greene County where the homeless say they have nowhere to go. A homeless shelter is on the verge of opening, and the need is becoming dire. With the shelter, so close to opening, people FOX45 spoke with said no one is letting anyone in. It's forcing people to sit and wait as winter slams Greene County.
For the past month Larry Holton has been living out of his car.
“There's nothing, there's no warming center, nothing,” Holton said.
He's one of hundreds of people living homeless in Greene County.
“If I had a drug problem or a mental issue, or anything like that, then I could get help for housing,” Holton said.
Instead he's sitting idle as he waits for the non-profit Bridges of Hope to open a shelter at the old Simon Kenton Elementary school. It's an occupancy permit away from opening. The shelter was supposed to open weeks ago, but fundraising took longer than expected. They are hoping to get the inspection on Friday. The non-profit said the County wants it done as quick as possible.
“Right now there are really no other resources,” said Carol Wise who helps the homeless through a ministry group.
Wise and her group are handing out tents, and even offering to drive people to a shelter in Montgomery County.
“A lot of them don't want to leave Xenia,” Wise said.
Instead, she said the homeless population chooses to stay huddled in hidden communities.
“You know, support each other, lift each other up,” Wise said.
“I spend more money now being homeless than I did when I had a home,” Holton said.
He believes the shelter is his ticket out.
“I hope they get the occupancy lease so we can get in there tonight,” Holton said, “Because it's going to be cold tonight.”