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Weather has more seeking shelter



Published: Fri, January 26, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.



Agencies for the homeless are seeing more women and children this year.

By AMANDA GARRETT

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

As temperatures dip well below freezing, area rescue missions are working to keep the homeless out of the cold.

The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley and the Warren Family Mission both have cold-weather programs, which give food and shelter to people who desperately need it.

"Many homeless people don't want to come in from the cold, but in this kind of weather, they'll die without shelter," said Rev. Dan Ellis, director of public affairs for the Warren Family Mission.

People who come to the missions receive free meals, a hot shower, a warm place to sleep and a change of clothing. Both missions also provide medical care and life-skills classes for those in need.

The Warren Family Mission has been averaging 25 men, 28 women and five children per night at its shelter on Elm Road Northeast.

The Rescue Mission, on Martin Luther King Boulevard, has been averaging 80 people per night, evenly split between men, women and children, Men's Services Director Tim Carthen said.

Representatives from both missions said the numbers of people seem to be increasing every year.

"Were seeing people with master's degrees," Ellis said. "They get themselves in a financial hole and they can't get out."

Causes of homelessness

Carthen said the mission is serving many homeless veterans and many people who lost their homes in evictions. The Rescue Mission also has seen an influx of women and children in the last month, said Rose D. Brown, director of family services.

Also, funds have been cut for government services for the needy, causing many people with physical and psychological handicaps to rely on the Warren Family Mission, Ellis said.

The rescue missions provide services to people who are often overlooked, Ellis said.

"Before I worked here, I would drive through downtown Warren and I wouldn't notice anything," he said. "I was numb to the problem because I had a good job and everything was going OK for me. But now everywhere I turn, I can't miss it."

Brown said that no matter how challenging the work, she finds her job very rewarding.

"I've been here for five years and I always tell people that I haven't worked in five years because I have so much fun," she said. "I get to work with some wonderful people, who sometimes have issues, but when I'm here, I'm happy."

Anyone wanting more information or to donate to the Warren Family Mission can visit its Web site at warrenfamilymission.com. Anyone wanting more information or to donate to the Rescue Mission can visit its Web site at rescuemissionmv.org. The Rescue Mission also has a hot line that anyone can call to receive a ride to the shelter. The number is (330) 747-2696, or if the caller does not have money to pay for a call, her or she can dial 211, Carthen said.

agarrett@vindy.com




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