Winter shelter to open Weds. night in Over-the-Rhine

Facility needs donations to stay open all winter

CINCINNATI - A winter shelter for homeless people in Over-the-Rhine will open Wednesday night, but needs help to stay open throughout most of the winter.

The shelter, located at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1528 Race St., will open at 8 p.m. It's near the corner of Race and Liberty streets.

Until further notice, the facility will open each night at 8 p.m. and close each morning at 6 a.m., according to the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition.

Last year, the shelter averaged 100 people per night who sought refuge from the cold.

The shelter is operated by several area organizations, including the coalition and the Drop Inn Center, to provide people who otherwise would be sleeping outside or in unheated homes a safe and warm place.

"Last year, we were able to open in December and stay open until the end of February, and that's our goal this year,," said Fanni Johnson, the shelter's director. "But so far, we don't know if we are going to be able to meet it because we have to pay staff. We don't want to promise we will be able to stay open that long because we don't know."

Sleeping outside in winter weather can cause severe illness and even death.

The shelter is paid for primarily from donations sent by area organizations and individuals.

Anyone wanting to donate can send checks made payable to the Drop Inn Center with the memo "Warm Hearts," to 217 W. 12th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; or can visit the website at www.dropinn.org

All checks with the memo, "Warm Hearts," will go directly to operating the winter shelter.

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