Increased capacity targets those most vulnerable

CINCINNATI, OH – December 15, 2014 – Hamilton County’s shelters 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 four years, Strategies to End Homelessness has collaborated with the Drop Inn Center, Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church to add seasonal Winter Shelter capacity to the local system, and ensure that all homeless people have a safe, warm place to sleep when the temperatures dip.

Historically, Winter Shelter capacity is not needed until mid-December. However, last winter’s weather required the Winter Shelter to both open early, and stay open late. This year’s cold temperatures and early snow fall required the Drop Inn Center to add capacity earlier than ever, November 19th, straining a system already worn thin and requiring additional funding to provide services over such a long season.

“The Winter Shelter had to stay open later than usual last winter, and open at partial capacity earlier than usual this winter, so we have to juggle available resources. Now we run the risk of not having the resources to keep it open through February,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness. “If we don’t provide increased capacity, homeless people will remain on the streets, at risk of hypothermia or even death,” said Finn.

Last winter, the Winter Shelter served more than 710 people between Dec. 7th and March 6th. The Winter Shelter’s full 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 150 people sheltered in the two locations on any given night at a cost of less than $1000 per night, the Winter Shelter is a very cost effective way to protect our community’s most vulnerable homeless citizens. When the new Drop Inn Center in Queensgate is completed in 2015, the Winter Shelter will be fully contained in one facility.

Strategies to End Homelessness and its partner agencies hope to keep the Winter Shelter open full capacity every night starting this Wednesday, December 17th through February 28th, but will need additional funding to keep the facilities open that long.

Donations to support the Winter Shelter can be made to Strategies to End Homelessness by visiting www.wintersheltercincy.org, or calling 513.263.2785.

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