The homeless population in Ohio County is growing. So, Project Hope is campaigning for two-man tents, and cooling shelters to keep them comfortable over the upcoming weekend.
“Our goal is to provide them with shelter, but not necessarily make them so comfortable that there’s not motivation to change their situation.”Crystal Bauer
The homeless population consists of families, veterans, addicts, former convicts, and those struggling with Mental illness. If you ask Project Hope’s Crystal Bauer which concerns her the most with the upcoming heatwave, she says it’s the mental illness.
“Due to mental illness or various different reasons where you may see them inappropriately dressed in the first place in this kind of weather. So, that puts them more at risk than people who are dressed more appropriately.”Crystal Bauer
She also says their state of mind may not tell them their bodies are overheating.
“When you’re thinking about untreated mental illness, You and I know that if it gets too hot out, or we are getting overheated, We should probably drink some cold water, and seek shelter. Either in an air conditioned car, building or house. People with severe mental illness don’t necessarily think that way.”Crystal Bauer
Bauer and her team at project hope have been working tirelessly to set up Cooling sites across the downtown Wheeling area so the homeless population has a place to escape from the heat this weekend. But many places have been coming up as a dead end.
“You have untreated mental illness. You have people who maybe haven’t bathed in two weeks. They’re disheveled. Their behavior is a mess. There are a lot of businesses, and I understand, that don’t necessarily want the in their building. So, right now for us trying to get the cooling stations set up is just a little bit challenging.”Crystal Bauer
Project best and the Ohio valley health department are still working on getting those cooling shelters together.