With the frigid temperatures settling in these past few days, Akron and Summit County are looking into new ways to help the homeless find shelter.
A $120,000 federal grant will help establish a new phone line and clearing house to help Summit County social service agencies aid those who are homeless and help them find shelter.
News Channel 5 cameras caught up with 53-year old Army veteran Mark Cooper, who has been homeless for six years. He says the phone line is a good idea and that he plans on the using it once it's up and running.
"I don't know what I'm doing. I go day by day. I don't know how to get any help or nothing," Cooper explained.
The new program doesn't have a name yet and the phone line likely won't be activated until March or April.
Cooper says the sub-zero temperatures have been extremely rough on him as well as other homeless individuals.
"I know of a guy who had to go to the hospital because he had pneumonia," he said.
Volunteers took to the streets Tuesday in the freezing conditions to find out how many homeless people are in the Akron area.
They found approximately 150 living on the streets and about 800 living in shelters in the cold.
Housing Services Manager for InfoLine Inc. Fred Berry spoke about this ongoing issue, saying the phone line will be beneficial to the community.
"I think it's disheartening to know that there are people out there regardless of their circumstances in life, or wherever they are in their journey are without safe, affordable, housing," Berry said.
He (Berry) says the phone line will create a centralized approach and help homeless individuals find shelter or a permanent home.
"I think what we'll see is less people on the streets and in crisis. They'll spend less time in transitional housing programs and emergency shelters."
Approximately $4 million is divided amongst the various Summit County agencies to provide assistance to the homeless each year.
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