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As temperatures drop, Tri-State agencies stress need to keep homeless warm

Helping the homeless keep warm
Posted at 8:12 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 21:49:05-05

CINCINNATI — As the temperatures get colder this winter, Tri-State agencies that support the homeless stressed the need to keep families warm is in high demand.

Tuesday, the staff at St. Francis Seraph Ministries began their breakfast service by offering knitted scarves and hats. The staff said not only are people coming in for food but they're also looking for a place to stay warm during the day.

“There are multiple places around here, but getting connected to them isn’t always obvious,” said Jay Olzak of St. Francis Seraph Ministries.

Olzak runs meal distribution daily at the center and said since the cold weather has begun to settle in, he has noticed a lot more people coming in to escape the cold.

“We always have hot coffee and cold water. We have a nice comfortable warm or cool place to sit depending on the time of the year,” Olzak said. “Several people are scrambling right now to find shelter, be it one of the cold shelters or the Hotel Shelter program.”

St. Francis Seraph Ministries only opens its doors during meal service. The Cincinnati Public Library is known for being a warm spot for people during the day. However, the omicron variant is forcing branches to cut back hours until Jan. 8. Until then, branches will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p. m. Monday through Saturday.

“We have a commitment to being as open as possible,” David Siders of the Cincinnati Public Library said. “We have many online resources. We have our call center and a very caring and compassionate staff that are always willing and eager to connect people to resources.”

Siders said those in need should check out the library’s virtual information center. The number is 513-369-6900.

The winter shelter at ShelterHouse on 411 Gest Street opened its doors this season back in November to offer a place overnight. The winter shelter's number is 513-721-0643 Ext. 111.

“It becomes dangerous in the winter because of the temperatures,” said Prince Of Peace Lutheran Church Pastor John Sugitan.

Sugitan works with the Talbert House to give the homeless a hotel room to stay in during the winter months. This year the program started on Dec. 15. The 80 beds available were quickly taken after nearly 300 people submitted a screening form through the program, though Sugitan said beds will often open up during the winter.

“We usually had people sleep in our church, but because of the pandemic it was not safe to do that and follow CDC guidelines for safety,” he said.

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