Help for Hamilton County Homelessness: 381-SAFE
Hamilton County Homelessness On The Rise
Homelessness is a critical local issue. In 2021, 6,062 people in Hamilton County experienced homelessness, residing in an emergency shelter or sleeping in places not meant for human habitation. This includes 1,381 children under age 18. These numbers will likely increase as eviction moratoria and stimulus funding for emergency rental assistance fade into the past. Homelessness is damaging to both physical and mental health, and can be fatal.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2016-2020 Hamilton County residents, 14.8% of residents lived below the poverty line and 21.9% of under age 18 did as well. The LISC Cincinnati’s “Housing Our Future” report states, “nearly half of Hamilton County’s 82,300 extremely low-income households are considered severely housing cost burdened.” This means that they spend more than 50% of their income on rent, leaving very little else to cover other expenses or emergencies. These households are likely to experience homelessness after a medical emergency or job loss… or after an economic downturn, such as that recently accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Access Point Homelessness Helpline: 381-SAFE
Here in Hamilton County the Central Access Point Homelessness Helpline intervenes and assists those experiencing homelessness and those at-risk of experiencing homelessness. The helpline can provide an intervention to prevent homelessness, provide high-quality assistance, and solve homelessness though housing. The helpline can be reached at 513-381-SAFE, operated 363 days a year by Strategies to End Homelessness, a nonprofit organization. Those experiencing homelessness or risk of homelessness can call this number to get information about services, check for space in emergency shelters, and other homeless programs, or be placed in a shelter or homelessness prevention program. It was one of the first centralized emergency shelter access systems in the nation.
Trained Intake Specialists work with callers to assess if they need shelter immediately or if they can be referred to services that prevent homelessness. The specialists then make placements directly into shelters and other housing or diversion programs. Individuals or families in need can be placed directly a shelter most aligned with their individualized needs. There are 3 family shelters, 2 single men’s shelters, 1 veteran family shelter, 1 single women’s shelter, and 1 youth shelter. Additional support includes a transitional housing program, Supportive Services for Veterans Families program, 3 Veteran’s Administration Grant per Diem agencies, the Shelter Diversion Program (in coordination with 3 local agencies) and a Youth Diversion Program (in coordination with 3 local agencies). Aftercare services for families who previously experienced homelessness are also available to assist with a variety of different needs in order to keep a family from experiencing homelessness again.
The Impact of Homelessness on Children
Homelessness causes suffering for both children and adults. According to the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness, “homeless children suffer from chronic illnesses . . . and acute illnesses (such as minor upper respiratory infections) at twice the rate of the general ambulatory population.” Additionally, The National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness states that, “children experiencing homelessness have twice the rate of learning disabilities and three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems of children who have homes.” Sparing individuals, children and families from the trauma of becoming homeless is an important priority. Please do your part by sharing this information about the services and programs available through the Homeless Helpline.
The format and/or content of this post has been edited to fit guidelines of the Cincinnati Chapter of United Resource Connection for this rebroadcast.
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