Staying Warm and Safe in Dayton’s Winter: A Comprehensive Guide for Our Homeless Youth and Young Adults

Date: 1/17/2024

Author: JT Szabo, Associate Director of Development & Communication


“Winter is a dangerous time for anyone facing homelessness, but youth are even more at risk”

As the winter chill descends upon Dayton, Ohio, it brings with it the harsh reality for those without a stable place to call home. For us here at Daybreak, we understand the unique challenges faced by homeless youth and young adults during these cold months. After all, we’ve been operating the region’s ONLY youth and young adult emergency shelter for nearly fifty years. This blog post aims to provide not only life-saving tips for staying warm and safe but also to highlight specific services available within the Dayton community.

 The Importance of Layered Clothing:

  • Why It Matters: Layering is essential for trapping body heat. Begin with a moisture-wicking base layer, add insulation, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. We provide winter clothing essentials through our outreach program. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need warm clothing.

Protecting Your Extremities:

  • Key Tips: Wear hats, mittens, and thermal socks. These are crucial in retaining body heat.
  • Services in Dayton: Local charities and organizations, including Daybreak’s outreach program, St Vincent DePaul, Goodwill and Catholic Social Services offer winter clothing donations.

Finding Shelter:

  • The Necessity of Warmth: In extreme cold, finding shelter is crucial. Our emergency shelter specifically for youth and young adults aged 10-21 offers a warm and safe place with access to all of Daybreak’s services, case management and nutrition access. Those seeking shelter can call our 24-7/365 emergency hotline at 937-461-1000.

Insulation Techniques When Outdoors:

  • Creative Solutions: Use cardboard, newspapers, or plastic sheeting for additional insulation. Additionally, Daybreak’s outreach program can provide sleeping bags, blankets and more for those who wish to stay in the elements.

Staying Dry:

  • Avoiding Hypothermia: Keeping dry is key. Change out of wet clothes as soon as possible. Our shelter facilities offer laundry services and dry clothing exchanges.

Proper Nutrition and Hydration:

  • Eating for Warmth: High-energy foods help in generating heat.
  • Food Services in Dayton: We offer hot meals for shelter and residential clients through our Lindy’s kitchen employment-training program on campus at our Stuart & Mimi Rose Opportunity Zone at 701 S. Patterson Blvd in Dayton.

The Buddy System:

  • Safety in Numbers: Stay with a group or a friend for warmth and safety.

Recognizing and Reacting to Cold-Related Illnesses:

  • Know the Signs: Educate yourself on the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia. Those experiencing symptoms are urged to call 911 or visit their nearest emergency medical center for treatment and care.
  • Medical Resources: Daybreak Dayton can provide a list of medical providers and assist with obtaining Medicaid and other government assistance.

Planning and Preparing:

  • Being Proactive: Anticipate cold weather by knowing where to go for help.
  • Daybreak Resources: We provide information on local shelters, food services, and emergency numbers.


In the face of winter’s challenges, it’s more important than ever to come together as a community to support our most vulnerable. At Daybreak, we are dedicated to providing resources, shelter, and care to the homeless youth and young adults in our city. Remember, staying informed, prepared, and connected can make all the difference. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance this winter, please reach out to us or any of the listed resources.

Contact Information:

  • Daybreak Dayton: 937-395-4600 or
  • Emergency Shelter Hotline: 937-461-1000

Please share this blog post to spread the word about staying warm and safe this winter. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.