Homeless Camps in Downtown Cincinnati: One year later

‘Not going far enough, but we are making progress’

Homeless camps in Cincinnati one year later

Photo Credit: Emily Maxwell WCPO

A look back at Cincinnati’s homeless camps. Our sincere thanks to Lucy May and Emily Maxwell for their “Move Up Cincinnati” Series and recent feature story for WCPO.

“A year ago this month, the city of Cincinnati began issuing a series of 72-hour notices requiring homeless people to move the tent cities they had established. The camps moved around town before dispersing completely after a Hamilton County judge’s countywide ban against homeless people sleeping outside.”

Official homeless count declining

“A total of 7,036 people in Cincinnati and Hamilton County experienced homelessness in 2018, according to data collected by Strategies to End Homelessness, the nonprofit that oversees homeless services and distributes federal funding to service providers.

That’s a decrease of 2.2 percent since 2017 and a decrease of 3.7 percent since 2013, noted Kevin Finn, CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.

The decrease in the number of people sleeping on the streets is even more dramatic, Finn said.

‘All told now, over a six-year period, we have had a 40 percent decline in the number of people sleeping outside on the streets, not an increase,’ he said. ‘I think a lot of things related to what happened last summer gave people the impression that there are more and more and more.’”

2018 Cincinnati homeless data

Last year our local homeless services system served more than 12,000 people. “Home” our Annual Report gives an overview of homelessness in Greater Cincinnati in 2018. And the strides we are making with our supporters to end homelessness.

From 2017 to 2018 homelessness has declined 2.2% from 7,197 people to 7,036 people

And overall, homelessness has declined by 4% since 2013. Such declines in homelessness, however modest, are positive. The data indicates there was much more happening within the homeless services system than this small decline might indicate.

Regarding people unsheltered on the streets

The issue of people experiencing homelessness sleeping unsheltered received a great deal of attention in Cincinnati in 2018. This, understandably, might give the impression that there are an increasing number of people sleeping on the streets. However, the data does not support these impressions.

From 2013-2018, Hamilton County has seen a 43% decline in the number of people sleeping on the streets.

In fact, 13.7% of Hamilton County’s homeless population spent at least part of the year sleeping unsheltered on the streets. The national average is 34%.

And 92.5% of our homeless population (who normally sleep unsheltered or in an emergency shelter) were safely in shelter for at least part of 2018. This is critical as studies show homeless adults who live and sleep outside are 3x more likely to die than those who live in an emergency shelter. And 10x more likely to die than the general population.

However, our data indicate that there are also areas of significant concern.

Including, not enough funding for homelessness prevention services. Prevention programs are a perfect example of how the resources available don’t necessarily align with what can have the greatest impact. These temporary assistance programs to prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless are the most cost-effective intervention available for reducing homelessness.

Please give “Home” a read and let us know what you think – we’d love your feedback.

Learn how your generosity can make a direct impact in the lives of the people we serve. Including: Why Homelessness Knows No Season, 5 Easy Ways You Can Help. And our 2018 Financials showing 97% of all our expenses go back into the programs we offer; only 3% spent on operating costs.

Your support can make a true impact in the lives of people and families experiencing homelessness. Thank you for trusting us to be your partners in the fight!

The post Homeless Camps in Downtown Cincinnati: One year later appeared first on Strategies to End Homelessness.

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