‘Tent City’ volunteers work to connect homeless with services

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A group of volunteers is working to help homeless people in the Valley who have set up temporary shelters around town.

Several camps have been set up throughout downtown with homeless people making temporary homes. Volunteers have organized under the name Tent City and are hoping to connect the homeless with supplies and services they need.

The residents of Tent City landed on the streets in many ways. Addiction and mental illness can drive people there. Others may have had a bad experience at a one of the local homeless shelters. However they got there, the volunteers are ready to help them get out.

“Not everybody wants help but if they do, we are here and make it available to them,” said Jason Baker, Tent City volunteer. “If they don’t want help, that is up to them.”

Volunteer Dave Hull said he is there is help give the homeless what they need to stay alive, making sure they have the most basic needs. The volunteers are also trying to clean up the area and keep the tents and the area outside of them hygienic. Hull said they also try to keep them from cooking inside the tents.

The group has located tents and cold weather gear, but they don’t hand out money or valuable goods.

“There is a fine line between enabling and helping, and what we are all about is helping people,” Hull said.

Volunteer Monica Burrus said she has met a few veterans who are homeless and the group is trying to connect them with the Office of Veterans Affair.

“So we can get them their medical and maybe some housing,” Burrus said.

The group has planted fruit trees along the river near in one area where the homeless have set up, and they are also working with Youngstown Inner City Garden to teach gardening skills to anyone who wants to learn.

The group says the worst thing people can do is drop off donations at the homeless camps. Below is a list of the most needed items and where to drop them off.

Items needed:

  • First Aid kits
  • Backpacks with frames(if these people are told to leave, they have to carry their house on their back) and duffel Bags
  • Tarps 8×10
  • Sleeping bags
  • Thermals (all sizes)
  • Flash Lights – batteries (all sizes)
  • McDonald’s $5.00 Gift Cards
  • Dollar General $5.00 Gift Cards
  • Trac Phone Minutes Cards – You can message us with the pin numbers
  • W.R.T.A. Bus Passes
  • Any fruit juice – tomato, vegetable, protein drinks
  • Hygiene products
  • Hand warmers
  • Para cords
  • Multi-tool kit
  • Size D batteries
  • Instant coffee/hot chocolate

Donation drop-off locations:

  • Blosser’s Dari Drive-in
    5501 Akron Canfield Rd.
    Berlin Cent, Ohio 44401
  • Mason Carrett
    3411 Idlewood Ave.
    Youngstown, Ohio 44511
    (234) 855-0259. Leave message
  • Jason Baker (vice president of Youngstown Inner City Garden)
    261 Maple wood Ave.
    Struthers, Ohio 44471
    (330) 906-9432
  • Cornersburg Santa Fe Cafe (inside Loose Racks Billiards)
    3207 Mahoning Ave.
    Youngstown, Ohio 44509
  • Audio Extreme, Inc.
    7000 Market St.
    Boardman, Ohio
    (330) 726-2500

Monetary Donations can be made in the following ways:

  • At any Huntington Bank branch location under the account Youngstown Inner City Garden.
  • GoFundMe account under the name Tent City Youngstown.

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