Where do the homeless sleep during a heat wave?

Did you have trouble sleeping last night?  A little too hot, humid,  or uncomfortable?  The air conditioning just wasn’t cutting it?  Well, what if you didn’t have air conditioning, a fan, or even a bed to sleep in?

Homelessness wears many faces.  Right now, there are people, including families with children, living in abandoned buildings, cars, alleys, and other places not meant for human habitation.  These people need the help of our community, and Point In Time (PIT) is the perfect opportunity to help.

Racine County community organizations, along with volunteers, will take to the streets overnight to provide information and outreach about community resources, offer shelter, and give care packages to this vulnerable population.  The Federal Department of Commerce, through its Housing and Urban Development (HUD) division, attempts to determine the number of homeless not receiving services each year and the reasons they are living on the streets.

The Homeless Assistance Coalition of Racine County includes organizations like HALO, Women’s Resource Center, Bethany House, Vet’s Place, Safe Haven, HOPES Center, Legal Action, Racine Vocational Ministries, UW Extension, Workforce Development Center, and many other groups that attempt to help the homeless regain self-sufficiency.

The Coalition is looking for volunteers to help reach out to the Racine County homeless on Wednesday, July 25 and Thursday, July 26 from 8:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.   Volunteers will go out in teams on two shifts:  one team from 8:30 p.m. to midnight and the other from midnight to 3:30 a.m., with an experienced person on each team.

The first half hour of each shift consists of safety training and hints, clues, and tips on finding people in need.  The teams take along water and backpacks filled with supplies and blankets to hand out to anyone in need.  Last year, eight people were located, including one teen.  These individuals were found sleeping in cars, under bushes, in all night laundromats, or hanging out in 24 hour gas stations.  Three were willing to go to HALO, the teen was placed in a home for the night and the others received supplies.

The four who were given shelter were all reunited with extended family and are currently in safe and stable homes.

This year, PIT would like to have a much larger teams helping with the effort, in the hopes of finding and helping even more people in need.

If you would be willing to help on one of the shifts for either nights, please contact:  Michael Johnston 414-219-4769 or e-mail:  Michael.johnston@aurora.org and you will receive detailed information about the event.

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