People looking for places to stay after Xenia homeless shelter closes temporarily

People looking for places to stay after Xenia homeless shelter closes temporarily. (WKEF/WRGT)

XENIA, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) -- Over the past year FOX45 has told you about a homeless shelter in Xenia that arose from the old Simon Kenton Elementary building. The location became a sanctuary for single men and women during the harsh winter, but now Bridges of Hope is shutting down temporarily.

When you’re homeless, opportunity, employment, and a typical lifestyle tends to go away. The people at Simon Kenton Bridges of Hope are trying to give that back.

“They want people to know them, and to know what their story is,” Bridges of Hope Board Vice President Marlene Labig said.

Take a guest like Anthony Smith. The father of two has been staying at the shelter for the past two weeks. One of his girls is a 14-year-old going to school in Yellow Springs, and the other is a freshman at Ohio University.

He’s had trouble securing a well-paying job, and needed a place to regroup instead of couch surfing,

“A friend’s wife told me about this place, and I said, “Yeah I remember them on the news,’ Smith said.

At night, he works a shift at DHL, but during the day he picks a bed at the shelter.

“After taxes and child support you have nothing left,” Smith said of jobs that pay less than $10 an hour.

The shelter was allowing him to manage finances, or build a “nest egg” as a he called it.

“It's a race against time because this place closes April 30th,” Smith said.

"We only have occupancy for the winter months," Labig extrapolated.

She said their old school building needs a sprinkler system, alarm system, and more to meet certain occupancy codes.

“Right now we don't have air conditioning for the summer either,” Labig said.

All three items would give them full occupancy of the building, and allow for a permanent shelter. Right now, the shelter operates out of the gymnasium, but in the future, it will be moved to a permanent spot at the other end of the school. The rest of the building will be used for other programs to benefit the guests.

“Right now we are thinking about $250,000 will take care of those three items,” Labig said.

In the meantime, Smith and others will be forced to spend the summer in tents or cars. Labig said they will do their best to keep in touch with their guest after the shelter closes. Some guests may even have to migrate to other counties.

“Now, it's going to be rougher in Dayton,” Smith said.

The shelter is hoping to raise the money, and have the renovations complete for next fall. Fund raising efforts are just beginning.

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