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Bethany House: Laptop donations needed to help kids experiencing homelessness learn

Posted at 9:22 AM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 11:24:45-04

CINCINNATI — A local organization is asking for laptops to help children experiencing homelessness learn remotely.

Susan Schiller, CEO of Bethany House, said children who are experiencing homelessness are typically behind academically, and she’s worried the COVID-19 pandemic could have lasting effects.

“So to layer this on top of the kids … that’s really a concern that I have,” Schiller said. “How are we ever going to be able to support our children going forward?"

Child-Parent Coordinator Denise Hill said some of the 83 school-aged children they serve are without laptops, and some of them have to do their schoolwork on their parent’s cell phone.

“We need some technology for our kids and everything is done via internet now and when you don’t have access to the internet … we’re at a standstill,” Hill said.

Bethany House has already moved families from their shelters into hotels and apartments in order to achieve proper social distancing, and that number is growing. Bethany House serves 38 families or roughly 150 individuals.

“We’re seeing an increase in the number of families that are in the hotels. Just this past week I think we opened up about four or five more hotel rooms,” Schiller said.

Schiller and Hill said their goal is to make sure the impact of the pandemic is not long-lasting for children experiencing homelessness.

“We have to be present. The families have to see us. We have to make sure that they understand that we’re still with them,” Hill said.

Anyone who is interested in helping families experiencing homelessness can donate laptops, money and food to Bethany House.