YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Saturday night, a few homeless men in Youngstown will be spending their first night in a new house.
Organizers from Rising Above the River worked together with a homeowner to clean up the house for four men.
Over the past year, the organization has worked to provide homes for people in need.
For the last 20 years, Tony Jones has been living in a tent underneath the Marshall Street Bridge.
“We’ve been down there struggling for so many years,” he said.
Jones says winter is the most difficult time.
“I’ve woken up where the blankets were solid ice from my breath. The crust, it just cracked off you in the mornings, like coming out of an eggshell. But no more.”
On Saturday, Jones and the three other men who lived in Tent City moved into a home on Wells Court; a warm home with no firewood needed.
“No more splitting wood. We can dedicate ourselves to other issues we have,” he said.
“A lot of people just think they can go get counseling and all that,” said Rising Above the River Executive Director, Kathleen Mace. “It’s a proven fact that housing works first. You put them in a house and then everything else can come after.”
Mace has helped the homeless over the past year. She put them up in a hotel during the coldest weeks last winter. When someone burnt down their camp in February, she bought them new tents.
“These guys are like my best friends. They’re like my family,” Mace said. “I love every one of them and to see them move into a new house, it’s awesome. Awesome.”
Rising Above the River is asking for donations to help make the house more livable. Items like furniture and a stove are still needed.
If you are interested in helping, you can contact Mace at 330-501-4023.