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Summer brings challenges to helping the homeless

Ellen Abbott

For those who deal with the homeless in Syracuse, summertime has its own set of challenges.

John Tomino, the founder of In My Father’s Kitchen, takes his van out twice a week all year long, offering home cooked meals and a friendly face to the men and women who live on the streets of Syracuse. 

As he heads out on a July afternoon, he notes that warm weather really isn’t a friend to him and a crew of helpers that find those men and women living in abandoned buildings, under bridges, or in wooded areas.

"Even folks that were staying in shelter, will leave shelter and go outdoors and they call it camping out," said Tomino. "For us, we see the numbers go up in the summer. And the main challenges that we run into is they don’t want to think about going indoors at that time, because they think they are camping."

Tomino also said summer brings its own set of issues, like heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunburn. Camps can become flooded in heavy rains. And for a community that often faces addiction issues, there is more temptation.

"It unfortunately turns into party town outside in the summertime, with regards to them drinking and getting crazy and being more visible," said Tomino.

He said his goal continues to be making a connection with these individuals, and ultimately find them permanent housing as well as any other services they need.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.