Daybreak drop-in center helps homeless youth beat summer heat

DAYTON — Last fall the youth social services organization known as Daybreak Dayton received major renovations.

They are the only emergency homeless youth shelter in Dayton.

Now, with this summer’s warmer weather, leaders showed us how they feel the upgrades are helping more homeless young people.

Chief Development Officer at Daybreak, Joan Schiml says, “We did open just in time. That is a great way to put it. We have been non-stop since the day we opened.”

The laundry room, meeting center, and screened-off sleeping area, Schiml says they have been vital in their new drop-in center.

The center aims to help some of the area’s most vulnerable young people.

“Homeless youth come from different situations and have different needs and we want to try to be as comprehensive and supportive as we can,” said Schiml.

Schiml tells us that the real mission of the drop-in center, which operates daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. here on South Patterson Boulevard, is about more than just helping clients beat the heat for a few hours.

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“But then also it is another way to get people going on a more permanent housing solution, so this is the place to get started,” Schiml added.

That’s where their traditional services, Schiml says, are also key.

She says there’s also help for things like insurance and jobs. Organization leaders say they serve about 800 clients each year.

However, they think there are probably more Miami Valley youths needing help.

Engagement program and drop-in center manager, Darlene Bell said, “We always try to get people to go to a shelter, so they are not out at risk of heatstroke or frostbite depending on the time of year.”

Bell also says she’s seeing some of the young people coming in this summer dealing with serious health risks.

“They are young so they feel like they are invincible but they get to a point sometimes where they are worn out and I think they are on the verge of heat exhaustion and we have had to take people to the hospital,” says Bell.

That’s concerning for center leaders who say most of those they’re serving are just ten to twenty-four years old.

They have about 15-20 young people inside the shelter, according to Schiml.

She tells us she is thankful for their space and all these new renovations.

Schiml said, “we are here until there is no need and that will be never.”

She added that they are proud of everything that they offer.

Sometimes, helping these young people is about something as simple as an entertaining card game, art project, or other de-stressing activities.

A combination of public and private funding paid for the renovations.