*When it comes to the important issues of the day, it’s usually easier to relate to one person’s dramatic story than to overwhelming statistics.
That was the case recently with golden-voiced Ted Williams, the Columbus man who was living on the streets until a newspaper reporter helped turn him into an overnight sensation.
It’s also the idea behind Dayton-area pastor Ryan Riddell’s January journey.
The clergyman is hoping to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness this month by sleeping and living in his van on the streets of Dayton instead of in his comfortable Miamisburg home. He seeks shelter from bitter January days at the downtown library or bus hub.
According to Joyce Probst MacAlpine, Montgomery County’s manager of housing and homeless solutions, there are about 4,000 homeless in the Dayton area and there was an 11 percent increase in people at local shelters in 2010.
It’s the medium that makes Riddell’s experiences unique; he’s using social media to bring home his message in creative new ways. He’s constantly updating his website, tweeting and posting on Facebook to let followers know when someone he’s encountered on the streets needs a pair of long johns, overnight housing or a pair of shoes.
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