By Guest Writer, Debra Kubena-Yatsko ’01
The 2018-2019 Leadership Medina County Class organized and executed the most successful Medina County Homeless Point-in-Time Count to date! For months prior to the Count, Class members met to organize, recruit volunteers, solicit donations, and provide volunteer training. On a very cold night, January 22, 2019, Class members and volunteers searched throughout Medina County for persons living in places not meant for human habitation. Parks, laundromats, parking lots and other locations were checked. Volunteers also participated in two (2) events for low-income persons that week to try and identify those who were experiencing homelessness. Class members put together supply bags of basic necessities including food, water, and warming items like blankets and socks. Seventeen (17) persons were identified as homeless on that night. Fifteen (15) identified as male and two (2) as female. Nine (9) persons were over the age of 55 years. Some persons identified as living outside in the woods or parks, in cars, and in places with no heat and other utilities, such as an abandoned building, a barn, and a condemned building.
In addition to persons living in places not fit for human habitation that night, nineteen (19) persons were living in shelters such as Operation: HOMES and the Battered Women’s Shelter. Sheltered were two (2) adult males, twelve (12) adult females, three (3) youth males, and two (2) youth females.
Gathering data on homelessness in our community is a Federal and State requirement if a community wishes to receive grant dollars to assist persons experiencing a housing crisis. By gathering this data, community agencies are eligible to apply for over $400,000.00 this year to assist persons in crisis. The Class reached out to for-profit and non-profit entities that had not participated with the Count in the past, setting the Count up for future success!
Thank you to the Class of 2018-2019 for your dedication and hard work on this project. Your efforts made an impact on the lives of those you reached out to and those that will experience crisis in the future. Each person that participated, Class members and volunteers, made a difference in the lives of Medina County’s most vulnerable residents.