As temperatures drop, officials struggle with funding to open Winter Shelter by mid-December

CINCINNATI, OH – November 26, 2013 – Hamilton County’s emergency shelters for the homeless do not have the capacity to serve everyone in need during the coldest months of the winter when the demand for shelter is highest. For the last two years, Strategies to End Homelessness has collaborated with the Drop Inn Center, Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, and the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati to add seasonal Winter Shelter capacity to the shelter system, and ensure that all homeless people have a safe, warm place to sleep from December through February.

While Cincinnati City Council voted last week to provide $30,000 in funding for the Winter Shelter, an additional $25,000 in funding is needed to add consistent seasonal shelter capacity from mid-December through February.

“If additional shelter capacity is not available, homeless people will have no choice but to remain on the streets, at risk of hypothermia or even death,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.  “The Winter Shelter brings homeless people in off the streets, and also provides connections to housing and services targeted toward helping them out of homelessness,” said Finn.

Last winter, the Winter Shelter served more than 600 different people. Increased Winter Shelter capacity is provided in two locations: the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Race Street, and within an additional section of the Drop Inn Center facility on 12th Street. With as many as 160 people sheltered on any given night at a cost of less than $1000 per night, this Winter Shelter is a very cost effective way to protect our community’s most vulnerable homeless citizens.

Prior to 2011, additional seasonal shelter was only available to homeless people on nights when the temperature dipped below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  In 2011, Strategies to End Homelessness and its partners moved to replace this unreliable system, by making seasonal shelter reliably available throughout the season, and also providing the services necessary to assist people out of homelessness.

Strategies to End Homelessness and its partner agencies hope to have the Winter Shelter open every night from mid-December through February, but currently lack the funding to open the facilities for that length of time.

Donations to support the Winter Shelter can be made to Strategies to End Homelessness through our website or by sending a check to 2368 Victory Parkway, Suite 600, Cincinnati, OH 45206 (payable to Strategies to End Homelessness).

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