Unsheltered Homelessness in Cincinnati

Unsheltered HomelessnessMost people who experience homelessness in Cincinnati are staying in a shelter. But each year hundreds of neighbors experience unsheltered homelessness (or street homelessness) in our community. Unsheltered homelessness increased slightly in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, since 2020 street homelessness in Cincinnati is down by 27%.

This type of homelessness is the most life-threatening. People are vulnerable to being bullied or assaulted.  Additionally, they are vulnerable to the elements, especially the relentless winter weather . For these reasons moving people off the streets and into shelter or housing is an important priority.

Unsheltered homelessness is lower in Cincinnati than the national rate

The National Alliance to End Homelessness‘ data shows that nationally in 2022 40% of people experiencing homelessness are unsheltered. In Cincinnati this percentage is significantly lower, at 12%.

There are a variety of factors that make street homelessness in Cincinnati lower than the national average. Dedicated Street Outreach Workers work hard to move people into shelter or housing. Conscientious neighbors download and use the Street Reach app  to help us reach people living on the streets. Our local shelter partners work to place households staying in shelter into permanent, stable housing. This makes room for the next person who needs shelter. And our community has strong homelessness prevention programs, like Shelter Diversion .

How can we make strides towards eliminating unsheltered homelessness?

The National Alliance to End Homelessness released information about how to address unsheltered homelessness . They suggest a multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted approach because one size does not fit all when it comes to move people off the streets and into housing. The article also shows what doesn’t work. Including “relying heavily on law enforcement to cope with unsheltered homelessness and encampments has not proven to be successful, and results in added trauma and criminalization of homelessness.”

More strides can be made toward ending street homelessness in Cincinnati. Strategies to End Homelessness works hard to expand prevention programs so that no one experiences homelessness in the first place. Prevention is one of many solutions we use to end homelessness, including street homelessness.


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