Huntington trying to move homeless living along the Ohio River into permanent housing
HUNTINGTON, WV (WCHS/WVAH) —
The City of Huntington is trying to get those living along the Ohio River into permanent housing. Thursday was moving day for several homeless people.
The city has partnered with several agencies to get folks living along the river into permanent housing before winter. The effort focusses on the area along the Ohio River from Harris Riverfront Park to 23rd Street West in Huntington. Groups started reaching out to homeless along the river several weeks ago, and now 40 individuals have either found a permanet home or are in the process of finding one.
The effort also includes controlled burns along the banks of the Ohio River where debris has collected over the years creating health issues for the homeless along the river. Daniel Hall and his fiancee Rebecca Yearin had been living along the river for 67 days. They became homeless after being evicted from their apartment. Now permanent housing could soon be in their future, but Daniel has his doubts.
"I honestly don't know what our future holds right now. I don't know what to do or where to go right now," said Hall. His fiancee Rebecca Yearin has been living along the river while 29 weeks pregnant. "Challenging. There's a lot of chances for sickness and infection. Hard to get to doctor's appointments," said Yearin.
"We approach this with compassion and resources," said City of Huntington Communications Director Bryan Chambers. He says groups gave notice to the homeless population along the river about this day three weeks ago, trying to convince them to seek permanent housing.
"We are not forcing anyone to do anything but we want to convince them that we are here to assist them. We are there to help them. We are there to provide resources, not just funding but any other help they need," said Chambers.
Each homeless person or family has a support team to help get them into permanent housing. Organizers point out that the Continuum of Care partnering agencies involved in this project have worked together to reduced the homeless population in Cabell and Wayne Counties by 10% in 2017.