Hamilton homeless camp residents to get aid, advice this weekend

Organizations that help the homeless will meet with residents of a tent community Sunday to explain various services they have to help stabilize their lives.

Various government and non-profit organizations will visit, offering their help.

“It’s a private, invitation-only, social-services fair for people who need basic assistance and the city police will secure the area to ensure the privacy of the individuals who are applying for services, getting assessments or discussing their life,” said Butler County Commissioner Cindy Carpenter, who said she was working with Hamilton police in the effort.

The camp, located near CSX railroad tracks in the area of Dixie Highway near Hamilton Plaza, has received notoriety recently after the railroad and other property owners have complained about those living there. A variety of churches and organizations have been regularly visiting the people, and Mayor Pat Moeller has been leading a task force to help the people.

Meanwhile, a longtime coalition that has helped the homeless more than two decades locally has announced it and its 30-plus agencies have been working “tirelessly to ensure there is a strong system (of homelessness prevention) in our community.”

The nonprofit Butler County Housing & Homeless Coalition, which works to identify and address gaps in the social safety net, invited “anyone interested in working toward these solutions to join us at our monthly meetings the third Friday of every month” in its offices at 332 Dayton St. at 2 p.m.

Mindy Muller, a board member of the coalition, which became a 501(c)3 organization in 2007, put out the statement because “we want to make sure that the community at large understands that there are people doing things, we’re just not always doing things in front of the camera.”

The coalition recently sent representatives to the camp, and “met with everyone, they handed out cards, they handed out information about what services are available,” Muller said.

“There’s a regular group of people meeting to address issues of homelessness in our community,” she said.

“Anybody that serves the homeless in any capacity, from prevention all the way to making sure there’s stable housing available in the community, is invited to come to the table and participate,” Muller said.

According to the coalition’s statement, “The current network of providers has sufficient space to house anyone at the camp and is willing to meet individually with anyone desiring to be placed into safe housing.”

Muller said the number living there varies from about 15 to 40. Such pockets of people camping and living in tents between housing consistently has happened through the years during warmer months, she said.

“In the summer, it’s very common for people who are without a home to pitch a tent someplace, where they can try to have some privacy and come in under the radar,” Muller said.

Carpenter said she and others will protect privacy of people in the tent community who speak with care providers.

“It’s not a curiosity, it’s really a service to individuals that they need,” Carpenter said. “Just like going to your doctor: You don’t want anybody writing about you sitting in a doctor’s office.”

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