CINCINNATI -- In the 20 years that Samuel Landis spent living on the streets, there were plenty of times he wished he knew where to meet his basic needs.
That’s why he and his wife, Susan, are so excited about the Maslow’s Army Basic Needs Guide for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
The Landises produced the pocket-sized guide to be distributed to people who are panhandling or experiencing homelessness. The guide includes a listing of free resources, including where to get hot meals, clothing, haircuts, health care and even daily and weekly work.
“It’s all right here, and it’s all free,” Samuel Landis said.
The guides cost 90 cents each to produce, and Maslow’s Army is selling them for $1 each. The Landises want to encourage people to buy them in bundles of 10 to pass out themselves or to contribute to Maslow’s Army so that the nonprofit can distribute them.
The extra 10 cents per guide helps pay for Maslow’s Army’s other outreach work. The group passes out free pizza, clothing and hygiene products to people in need each Sunday afternoon near Fountain Square Downtown.
The guides have weather-resistant covers, and the Landises said they will update the information every six months to ensure it is current.
“It will help a lot of people,” said Susan Landis, who also experienced homelessness years ago. “Not just homeless, but also low-income.”
Downtown Cincinnati Inc. CEO David Ginsburg said he is familiar with the Landises' work and their new guide.
“There are certainly plenty of people on our streets that are in need in some way or another,” Ginsburg said. “Anything that gets people better connected with something that’s going to help them is a good thing.”
Downtown Cincinnati Inc., the advocacy group known as DCI, also produces what it calls a Downtown Cincinnati pocket guide that lists “services and programs to help those in need.”
Downtown hotels and businesses keep them on hand, and street outreach workers and Downtown Ambassadors employed by DCI hand out the pocket guides, too.
Both guides underscore the large number of resources available to people in need in Cincinnati, said Chico Lockhart, a social services outreach coordinator whose work is paid for by DCI.
Samuel Landis said he hopes people who get the guides will keep them close at hand for when they want help. If someone knows where to get a shower and a haircut, he said, it could make them more likely to look for a day job that could be an important step on a path to a better life.
“Organization was the hardest part of being on the streets as long as I was,” he said. “If there was something like this for me, I might not have been on the streets for 20 years.”
Added Susan Landis: “This makes it simple. It gives them a chance.”
Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.
To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.