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Dayton hosts week-long events addressing homelessness and housing justice

The University of Dayton hosted their second inclusive housing symposium at the Dayton Arcade.
Ngozi Cole
The University of Dayton hosted their second inclusive housing symposium at the Dayton Arcade.

Montgomery County, Ohio officials say nearly 4000 peopleexperienced homelessness in 2021. Shelters say they are now seeing about 600 people a night.

This week, the City of Dayton hosted several events to address homelessness and housing justice. The events included an art exhibit, and an annual housing symposium hosted by the University of Dayton.

National nonprofit organization, The Facing project, Montgomery County and University of Dayton brought together community members, scholars, students and activists to share their stories and discuss solutions. The goal was to highlight the need for affordable housing
and to address socio-economic and racial disparities in access to housing in Montgomery county.

The week of events opened with the Eviction Exhibit by the National Building Association at Dayton Metro Library’s main campus. This was followed by a free screeningof the Netflix documentary “LEAD ME HOME" at The Neon.

At the screening, Angel Bernard, the program manager at St Vincent de Paul, said the rise in homelessness needs to be addressed urgently.

“We don’t have enough affordable housing. The waitlist for subsidized housing for somebody is about 6 months to five years. That’s not acceptable," said Bernard.

Chris Nalls is a Miami Valley Fair Housing lawyer. He spoke at University of Dayton’s Imagining Community Symposium on Thursday.

“It's important to understand the origin of fair housing laws and just to distinguish between housing as merely shelter and then housing as the anchor of a community, access to nutrition and health care, its access to education, it's access to wealth and economic development,Nalls said.

The week of events wrapped up with a community conversation around housing justice strategies in Dayton at the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community.

Ngozi Cole is the Business and Economics Reporter for WYSO. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is a 2022 Pulitzer Center Post-Graduate Reporting Fellow. Ngozi is from Freetown, Sierra Leone.