As cold sets in, homeless shelters more vital than ever

Posted at 11:25 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 07:22:48-05

CINCINNATI -- Twenty-eight-year-old Samantha Duncan and her children have been homeless since October. They have bounced among short-term housing situations and couch-surfed in friends’ homes; Duncan said her son has not been able to consistently attend school for weeks.

But they and dozens of other homeless families had a safe, warm place to stay Wednesday night as area temperatures plummeted into single digits.

Bethany House, the largest emergency family shelter in the Tri-State region, provided a temporary home for 139 people who otherwise would have had no place to go.

Susan Schiller, the shelter’s execution director, said that homelessness among families like Samantha Duncan’s is a growing but critically under-recognized problem in Cincinnati. 

"Most people know about the gentleman on the street corner who is homeless, and now, occasionally, we see women, too," Schiller said. "But families are hidden, and nobody knows about them."

As colder temperatures set in, greater numbers of homeless families and individuals will need roofs over their heads in order to stay safe from the elements. 

If you are homeless or know of someone who is without a home this holiday season, call the Cincinnati Shelter Hotline at 513-381-SAFE.