CLEVELAND — Life has not always been easy for Dean Roff, and he hasn't always had a place to call home.
"I came home from the military in 2003," explained Roff. "I was drinking real heavily and found myself homeless.”
For nearly two years, Roff said he experienced homelessness until he quit drinking. Now, he helps others through his organization Homeless Hookup CLE.
"We do things like pass out food weekly. We do lunches. We have a thrift store with free clothing," said Roff. "I have an RV that we’ve turned into a barber shop, and the back end of it is a thrift store so it is capable of driving around and giving out haircuts, showers, food clothes and other resources like that.”
He also helps people who need to get off of the streets and into shelters, like Eletta Garlandios.
"When they say people have guardian angels, I never felt like I had one until I meet Mr. Dean Roff." Garlandios explained. "He is my guardian angel.”
Garlandios has been living on the streets of Cleveland for years with her dog Sweet Pea by her side every step of the way.
"We’re velcroed together. Without her, I’d die," said Garlandios. "She is what keeps me alive and keeps me going. That dog is my everything.’
Garlandios said she tried multiple times to get off the streets and into different homeless shelters around the city of Cleveland, but no shelters would accept her and her beloved pet dog,
"She is my ride or die," Garlandios said. "If places don’t take her they don’t take me, I will not get rid of her.”
That’s where Roff came in to help. He found a hotel that would accept Garlandios and her dog, Sweet Pea.
“If it wasn’t for Mr. Roff, Sweet Pea and I would have probably already died on the streets,” said Garlandios through teary eyes.
Thanks to donations, Garlandios and Sweet Pea will be able to stay in her hotel suite through the end of March.
Roff said none of this would be possible without people donating to his nonprofit.
“When we get those donations in, it pushes me to go farther. It pushes me to do more and allows me to do more," said Roff. "When people heard about Eletta, obviously now, I’m able to house her through the end of March because of it.”
If you would like to help by donating, they have a Facebook page or you can email CLEHomelessHookup@gmail.com.