By Melody Vallieu
TROY — With temperatures expected to drop below 0 in the next few days, the cold shelter in Troy expects to have more overnight guests than normal.
Dick Steineman, who runs St. Joseph’s House, a shelter for homeless men, said he has averaged about two men per night at the house, located at 207 E. Main St., Troy. But, he said, he would expect more people seeking shelter in the coming days with the frigid weather.
Steineman, who also runs St. Patrick Soup Kitchen, said St. Joseph’s opens for men in need of shelter at 7 p.m. nightly and closes at 8 p.m. Men are then able to shower and are expected to go to bed. Men are then asked to leave the shelter at 9 a.m. in the morning, he said, where they are directed to the Troy Presbyterian Church, 20 S. Walnut St., which offers a free breakfast from 9-10 a.m. Monday-Friday.
During the day the homeless men are hopefully looking for employment and also spend time at the library, he said.
Steineman said he usually receives about two calls per day about men looking for shelter, but oftentimes they do not show up.
“Some people are just too proud,” he said.
He said the the homeless also become used to conditions by being out in the weather throughout the fall into winter as the temperatures begin to dip lower and lower. Steineman said the homeless know how to dress, by putting paper in between their skin and clothes and wearing multiple pairs of pants.
“They know how to acclimate themselves,” Steineman said. “Some of these guys are smart.”
He said he does know of several people at this time living in their cars and they will turn the car on for approximately 15 minutes on the hour to warm the vehicle.
In previous years, cold shelters were held in downtown churches, but Steineman said that St. Joes, as it is also known, has been the cold shelter for the past three years. Churches continue to help fund the shelters, along with the Troy Foundation and the United Way, according to Steineman. He said they do not receive any state or federal funding.
Any man in need of a place to stay overnight may call Steineman at (937) 451-1723.
Anyone interested in donating items, such as blankets or pillows, also may contact Steineman at the same number.
Those men and women in the county seeking longer term shelter and help making positive life changes also can receive help in Troy. Barb Holman, executive director of the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County for women and children and Buckeye House for men, said since Thanksgiving both places have been filled to capacity — 15 at the Buckeye House and 25 at the abuse shelter.
“Anytime we are moving someone out, someone else is coming in,” Holman said.
Holman said her organizations work closely with Steineman’s programs, and recently have began offering some case management services to those he helps.
“He is literally preventing people from freezing to death,” said Holman, who said even if the shelters are at capacity, they will be sure to figure out accomodations for those in need at this time of year. “We have a very high need right now.”
The Buckeye House now also is able to accomodate single fathers with children, according to Holman. She said there is currently one father and son residing at the shelter.
For those seeking help, the Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County, 16 E. Franklin St., can be reached at (937) 339-2801 and the Buckeye House, 411 S. Market St., can be reached at (937) 339-6761. After normal business hours, those seeking help also can call the Crisis Hotline at (800) 351-7347.