With the heart of winter around the corner, a Hubbard charity is looking to help them survive in frigid weather.
An estimated 24,000 people in Ohio and Pennsylvania are homeless and about one in 10 veterans.
The National Coalition for the Homeless said 700 people freeze to death in the U.S. every year.
Patty Summers, founder of Youngstown Blue Coats, started the charity two years ago to seek out the homeless where they live.
Many of the homeless people have hidden camps along rivers and in wooded areas but finding people who need help can be a challenge.
“We contact people who work in the field, working with the homeless. We contact them and they act as our guides and they take us out to where camps are, to where they know they are at,” Summers said.
The charity makes sure people know there are services to help get them off the street. They also distribute coats and survival gear.
Youngstown Blue Coats puts a special emphasis on making sure homeless veterans get access to help.
The group has now expanded into western Pennsylvania where the need is just as high.
Summers said people often have no control over the circumstances that landed them in this situation. She said her volunteers don’t ask questions or make judgments about the about the people they help.
“I’ve had people ask me, ‘Well, why are you helping homeless people? It’s their choice to be homeless.’ My answers to that is I’m not going to let anyone freeze to death,” Summers said.
The charity has a new bus this year to help make distributions easier.
If you want to help, contact Youngstown Blue Coats at 330-531-1762.