More homeless families in need of shelter during summer months
CINCINNATI (June 12, 2017) – Summertime can conjure images of swimming pools and lazy days, but for many in Cincinnati it can be a time of real struggle. Data tracked by Strategies to End Homelessness shows that the number of homeless families requesting shelter surges by 42% during summer months.
Homeless families make up a third of Hamilton County’s homeless population at any given point in time. But while 209 families requested emergency shelter service in the 8 months between October and May last year, 296 families requested shelter from June through September 2016.
Often, families who have lost their own housing rely on friends and acquaintances for a place to stay, sleeping on couches or floors during the months children are in school. Once school is out, however, families are frequently asked to leave. With nowhere else to go, they turn to emergency shelters, causing providers to coin the phrase ‘Summer Surge’.
Family shelters in Hamilton County include Bethany House Services, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati (IHN), Salvation Army, and YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, and Welcome House and Family Promise in Northern Kentucky. In order to expand services during the Summer Surge, Strategies to End Homelessness and the family shelters partner to create more capacity and meet basic needs.
“As a community, we should never have children living on the streets, under bridges or in cars, but that is exactly what happens if we don’t expand family shelter capacity during times of greatest need,” said Kevin Finn, President/CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.
The cost to the system for expanded shelter service during these four months of the year is around $30,000 – roughly equivalent to what it costs the Cincinnati Recreation Commission to operate one public pool.
The expanded assistance is two-fold: Bethany House Services temporarily master leases apartments where families can stay until there is room for them in a shelter facility, providing for basic needs and case management services at the same time. Additionally, IHN, its support congregations, and Churches Active in Northside (CAIN), provide overnight shelter in CAIN’s Grace Place facility and day services in the IHN Day Center in Walnut Hills.
Strategies to end Homelessness raises the funds each year to pay for the apartments, toiletries, food, and case management services to meet the demands of the Summer Surge. To date, $18,000 of the $31,000 needed for this summer has been secured. The organization seeks grants from local foundations and encourages corporate and individual donations on its website: www.strategiestoendhomeless.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 service providers, STEH oversees the Homeless to Homes and Solutions for Family Homelessness plans, integrates a centralized emergency shelter hotline, prevention, street outreach, emergency shelter and housing solutions to bring an unprecedented level of coordination and effectiveness to 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, and is a United Way Agency Partner and a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity.
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.
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.
Susan Schiller, Bethany House Services, (513) 708-6757, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stacey Burge, Interfaith Hospitality Network, (513) 633-8451, email@example.com
Kevin Finn, Strategies to End Homelessness, (513) 708-8054, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anastasia Mileham, Mileham Consulting, (513) 604-3093, email@example.com