By Melody Vallieu
MIAMI COUNTY — With bitter cold days and nights dropping into the single digits — and no relief in sight — sleeping outside is an unnecessary danger.
In Troy, women and children in need of shelter can call the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County, according to shelter coordinator Julie Mehall.
Mehall said the shelter has seen many women and children already seeking refuge from the cold by staying at the shelter, where they can stay 24 hours a day, depending on bed availability.
The shelter, located in downtown Troy at 6 E. Franklin St., is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and calls can be made to (937) 339-6761. After hours and on weekends, those in need should call (800) 351-7347, Mehall said.
She said when women call, they will be screened. The women and children staying at the shelter receive food, bathing and a bed to sleep in, Mehall said, in exchange for helping with the shelter’s necessary chores. The shelter also offers counseling and various programs for all of those they help, Mehall said.
“They offer a lot here,” Mehall said.
St. Joseph’s House in Troy takes men in need of shelter, according to Dick Stieneman, who runs the cold shelter and St. Patrick’s Soup Kitchen in Troy.
“We’ve been housing a couple each night,” Steineman said.
Steineman said up until two weeks ago, he knew of a man still living outside in a tent in Troy, and people living in their cars.
“At this point, that’s not an option,” he said.
Steineman said he has ran the cold shelter for men since a man froze to death on the levee in Troy about six years ago.
“They can come in in any condition if they have had too much to drink or whatever,” he said.
Those in need of a place to stay for the night are asked to contact Dick Steineman at (937) 451-1723 as soon as possible during the day, he said. He will then meet them at St. Patrick Soup Kitchen at 25 N. Mulberry St. and take them over to the nearby St. Joseph’s House. They can shower and a cot and bedding will be available to them for the night. Steineman said he also can provide them some food in the evening if needed. In the morning, Steineman said they take the men to the free breakfast offered from 9-10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church at 20 S. Walnut St., Troy.
The Miami County Recovery Council and the Buckeye House also will provide case management services for those in need of help.
“We counsel them to see where they want to take their lives … whether a job or if they have issues with addiction,” Steineman said.
Those in need also can get warm meals in Troy besides the free breakfast offered at the Presbyterian church, Steineman said. Anyone needing a meal can visit St Patrick Soup Kitchen from 5-6 p.m. every day of the week. Terrace Ridge, 1312 McKaig Ave., also offers a free lunch on Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. and Richards Chapel offers lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Monday-Thursday each week at 831 McKaig Ave.
Steineman said its his mission to make sure men know that there is a safe place to stay.
“You kind of think in Troy, Ohio this kind of stuff isn’t going on. But it’s people falling through the cracks,” he said.
Reach Melody Vallieu at (937) 552-2131