Strategies To End Homelessness, Partner Agencies Struggle To Deal With “Summer Surge” In Family Homelessness
Families make up over one-third of Hamilton County’s homeless population, and demand for family shelter peaks during the summer
Solutions for Family Homelessness plan has strategy for meeting the need this summer
June 7, 2016
CINCINNATI, OH – Many people are aware of the need to provide homeless people with emergency shelter during the winter; however, what many do not realize is that summer is the time when more families find themselves homeless and in need of emergency shelter. Overall, homeless families make up over a third of Hamilton County’s homeless population.
Families that have been evicted from their own apartments or have lost their own housing frequently find themselves relying on others for a place to stay. They often stay with friends and family, people who are willing to house them while the children are in school, but once school is out, the family is often asked to leave with nowhere else to go. As a result, the number of families on the streets and in need of emergency shelter spikes during the summer months.
“We are building off the strengths of the current system for serving homeless and at-risk families,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness. “We have to build flexibility into the current system to meet the need, ensure that families are safe, and that they can move out of homelessness and back into housing quickly and efficiently,” said Finn.
Homeless families access shelter by contacting the Central Access Point (CAP), Hamilton County’s centralized shelter intake service operated by Strategies to End Homelessness (513-381-SAFE). Local experts say that families are becoming homeless due to a variety of factors, ranging from a lack of affordable housing and child care, to people being less concerned about homelessness when the weather is warm.
Callers seeking family shelter through the Central Access Point hotline:
- In 2014, the number of families seeking shelter during the months June-September was 14% higher than the average for the year.
- In 2015, the number of families seeking shelter during the months June-September was 20% higher than the average for the year.
- In an average month in 2015, 452 families contacted the CAP hotline seeking shelter; from June-September that number rose to 543 families per month.
Families served in shelter:
- In 2015, an average of 274 people in families were sheltered each month.
- However, from June-September, an average of 313 people in families were sheltered, 14% higher.
Two partnerships have been formed in order to meet this increased demand in 2016:
- Strategies to End Homelessness, the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati (IHNGC) and Churches Active in Northside (CAIN) are partnering on a summer Emergency Shelter pilot project to temporarily add capacity to the shelter system during the summer months. From mid-June through August, IHNGC will provide overnight shelter at CAIN’s Grace Place facility for approximately four families at a time, and a total of 12-16 additional families over the course of the summer. Families will stay overnight at the Grace Place facility, a home-like setting well-suited to accommodate moms and children. Volunteers from local IHNGC congregations and community groups will prepare meals, provide activities, and stay with families overnight each evening. A chartered bus will transport families between Grace Place and the IHNGC Day Center in Walnut Hills, where they will access case management services, basic necessities such as laundry, showers, and personal care supplies, and additional supports such as daily children’s activities. Strategies to End Homelessness will place families into this increased capacity through the Central Access Point hotline, and provide funding needed for the project.
- Strategies to End Homelessness and Bethany House Services are partnering to expand emergency shelter capacity over the summer by temporarily placing families in motel rooms, until there is room for them in a shelter. Strategies to End Homelessness will provide funding for the motel rooms, while Bethany House Services will provide the families with case management and other wrap around services to assist them out of homelessness.
The number of families who can be assisted with these shelter initiatives is directly linked to the amount of funding available. Anyone willing to help support these efforts can make a donation at www.strategiestoendhomelessness.org.
About Strategies to End Homelessness
Strategies to End Homelessness leads a coordinated community effort to end homelessness in Greater Cincinnati. Working in partnership with 30 homeless service providers, STEH oversees the Homeless to Homes and Solutions for Family Homelessness plans. The comprehensive system of care integrates a centralized emergency shelter hotline, homelessness prevention, street outreach, the emergency shelter system and housing solutions to bring an unprecedented level of coordination and effectiveness within the homeless service system. Through the work of Strategies to End Homelessness, Cincinnati is recognized nationally as a leader in implementing innovative and effective programs to end homelessness. Strategies to End Homelessness is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, is a United Way Agency Partner, and a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity. To learn more about Strategies to End Homelessness, and the community’s integrated network of homeless services agencies, visit: www.strategiestoendhomelessness.org
About the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati (IHNGC) is the community’s interfaith response to family homelessness. Through a partnership with congregations representing Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Unitarian faiths, IHNGC provides emergency shelter to children, parents, and their pets, with no place else to turn. IHNGC also offers a range of housing, aftercare and employment services to ensure that families exit homelessness permanently. IHNGC works to build a community of persons living their faith, through service, to create a world where ALL families know the dignity and security of a sustainable home.
About Churches Active in Northside (CAIN)
Churches Active In Northside (CAIN) is a non-profit founded and guided by 13 member churches in and outside of Northside. CAIN has compassionately and diligently been meeting the needs of those living in poverty for nearly 25 years as an official non-profit and another 20 before that in what was the Northside United Methodist Church. In 2014, CAIN expanded its hospitality ministry by assuming responsibility for the Grace Place Catholic Worker Community in College Hill to offer transitional housing for homeless women and children. This complements CAIN’s food pantry and weekly community meal programs in fulfillment of its mission to be a neighborhood ministry that transforms lives and inspires hope by providing nutritious food, crisis assistance, resources, and compassion in a way that respects human dignity and builds a more vibrant community.
About Bethany House Services
Bethany House Services (BHS) provides a sanctuary for desperate homeless families in need of help to achieve stable housing and income. Our four shelters meet each family’s immediate needs for safety, housing, food and other necessities. While in shelter, parents receive the resources and information needed to help them obtain living income, organize a comfortable home, and provide a nurturing environment for their children. Perhaps most important, parents themselves feel cared for and realize that they will develop a realistic plan for a better future for themselves and their children while they are guests of BHS. Founded 33 years ago, today BHS is the largest family shelter serving five of every ten homeless families in Cincinnati.
President & CEO, Strategies to End Homelessness