Housing nonprofit needs winter garments, blankets

MVHO Staffers Daisy Nease (left) and Chrystal Steward show off the everyday essentials that are always needed. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
MVHO Staffers Daisy Nease (left) and Chrystal Steward show off the everyday essentials that are always needed. CONTRIBUTED

It’s a milestone year for Miami Valley Housing Opportunities (MVHO), the nonprofit that for the past 30 years has worked to meet the housing needs of vulnerable citizens in our community. The organization provides safe housing for homeless individuals with disabilities — primarily mental illness and chemical dependency.

MVHO works collaboratively with social services providers in the community to link their tenants and homeless clients with the services they need to live independently. The tenant operations staff and property managers are involved in all aspects of day-to-day operations of MVHO-owned units and monitor the physical and social environments to help ensure housing stability for their tenants.

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“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have a place called home,” says CEO Debbie Watts Robinson. “For years, I think as an organization MVHO operated under the radar, but we want to share with the community the impact we are making in people’s lives throughout the Montgomery County region. This year alone, MVHO will assist more than 1,200 individuals with permanent supportive housing and homeless outreach services.”

The MVHO PATH and Streetlink programs provide intensive homeless outreach services for individuals and families living on the streets or places not fit for human habitation. In April 2021, MVHO launched Project Clean, a collaborative program with Five Rivers Health Centers and ADAMHS. Two days a week, MVHO homeless outreach staff operate a mobile shower and laundry unit that can accommodate two people every 90 minutes. Robinson says outreach clients are thrilled with the hot showers and the opportunity to leave with clean clothes.

The MVHO Restoration Housing project is more than a year in the making. Over 50 units were identified for renovation, and the massive project of moving the residents to temporary housing was started in 2020. Residents have started to return to updated homes with new finishes. “We want our tenants to be proud of the place they call home,” said Maintenance Director Willie Jones.

Here are two of the individuals who have been helped:

  • Mark has been a client since 2013 through the participation of MVHO in the Returning Home Ohio (RHO) re-entry program. RHO is a permanent supportive housing program for persons released from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections identified as homeless and with disabilities, including mental illness. “The ultimate goal of the re-entry program is successful reintegration into the community,” says Robinson. Mark now has housing, employment, and six classes left to reach his dream of an electrical engineering degree. “Mark is truly a success story,” said MVHO Reentry Program Director Penney Kramer.
  • Veronica was actively using drugs and living place to place with friends. She ultimately ended up in the homeless shelter. With support and encouragement from MVHO staff to make the changes necessary to turn her life around, Veronica moved into MVHO housing in 2008 and has been in recovery from drugs since Oct. 7, 2008. “I love MVHO and came back to life because they touched my soul,” she says. “They taught me to live again.”

Robinson says MVHO works very hard to identify and remove obstacles to tenant success and self-dependence, including the need for everyday essentials. “Coming from homelessness, many of our tenants are not used to being treated like they matter, but they matter to us,” she says. “Removing barriers to housing stability, healthy lifestyles, and well-being can improve the quality of life for persons whose disabilities and struggles brought them to homelessness.”

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In preparation for winter weather, MVHO is requesting donations of cold-weather gear in adult sizes and can also use blankets and sleeping bags for those on the streets.

They would also love to have some exercise equipment. “We have a couple of larger buildings with rooms that could accommodate exercise equipment,” says Rebecca DeLong, fund development manager. “Exercise can often help alleviate the stresses that go along with mental illness.”

Make a Difference readers have always been generous in responding to the needs of this organization.

Here’s what they need:

  • Winter hats (adult)
  • Gloves (men’s or women’s)
  • Scarves
  • Socks (men’s or women’s)
  • Kitchen trash bags
  • Treadmill
  • Home gym, functional trainer
  • Exercise bike
  • Elliptical machine
  • Sleeping bags
  • Men’s and women’s underwear
  • Blankets

Tenants can always use these items (which SNAP does not cover)

  • Mops
  • 5-gallon buckets
  • Shampoo
  • Body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toilet Paper
  • Laundry detergent (liquid)
  • All-purpose cleaner

Donated items may be delivered to Miami Valley Housing Opportunities, 907 W. 5th St., Dayton, OH, 45402 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about MVHO, or if you want to contribute online, visit www.mvho.org or contact Rebecca DeLong at 937-263-4449 ext. 415.

Other ways to help

The focus of the MVHO 30th anniversary campaign is to help meet the everyday needs of their tenants with low or no income. Financial support allows MVHO to purchase personal hygiene products and household cleaning supplies for tenants.


MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: meredith.moss@coxinc.com.

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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