Dominique Miller is trying to figure out how to enter an abandoned factory on an overcast December afternoon in Huntington. A cold snap has hit and the forecast calls for snow. The most obvious entrance, a giant barn door, is shut tight.
“A lot of times they’ll find a way to lock this door because the police have been cracking down on this property,” he says.
Miller is looking for unhoused people to give them food, clothing and an invitation to find housing.
Like many people experiencing homelessness in rural America, the people who stay here have two options – follow the hard and fast rules of the city’s one homeless shelter, or break the law by sleeping in an abandoned property to survive the winter. Many tried the first option, got kicked out and now resort to the second.
He reaches through a gap between the frame and the door to undo a strap keeping it shut. “We’re in.
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