— The first beds have been put in the gymnasium at the former Simon Kenton Elementary School, where homeless people will be able to go to get out of the weather and eventually get assistance in job searches, education and more.
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The building on West Second Street in Xenia is getting new life as the local nonprofit Bridges of Hope works to get supplies, volunteers and the funds needed to eventually open the doors as a shelter this winter.
The support from the community has been strong, said Dan Jordan, pastor at Xenia Grace Chapel and president of Bridges of Hope.
After replacing beds at the jail, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office donated about 100 mattresses, and Kettering Health Network has donated 800 blankets, Jordan said.
“The more people hear about this, they want to become involved,” Jordan said. “We’ve had some great people coming in and donating their time. Helping by doing some labor. Skilled people giving of themselves in electrical, plumbing, heating. It’s been a good response from our community here.”
The need for a shelter, particularly to accommodate single men and women, is needed in the area, Jordan said. According to Bridges of Hope, the poverty rate in Greene County is 15 percent and on any given night, nearly 100 people need shelter, 40 percent of those being children.
Work is underway to get the school’s old boiler to start working. Plumbing work is ongoing in the kitchen, where pipes have sprung leaks after years of not being used.
The old carpeting that served as