CINCINNATI -- Local agencies are partnering to provide adequate shelter for the surge of homeless families in the city this summer.
More families are homeless in the summer than any other season, and homeless families account for more than 33 percent of Hamilton County’s homeless population, according to a report from Strategies to End Homelessness, an organization leading a community effort to end homelessness in Greater Cincinnati.
Local experts say an increase in family homelessness can be attributed to a variety of factors -- from a lack of affordable housing and child care, to little concern about homelessness during warmer seasons.
Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness, said his organization is building off the strengths of the system to serve homeless families.
"We have to build flexibility into the current system to meet the need, ensure that families are safe, and that they can move out of homelessness and back into housing quickly and efficiently,” Finn said.
Strategies to End Homelessness, the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati and Churches Active in Northside are partnering to temporarily add more shelter to their facilities during the summer months.
Moneaca Collins and her three children used to be homeless.
"I have a 17-year-old, I have a 14-year-old, and I have a 12-year-old...you just want to give up."
But Collins and her family found shelter through Bethany House Services.
Strategies to End Homelessness and Bethany House Services will partner to place families in motel rooms until there is room for them in a shelter. Strategies to End Homelessness will provide funding, and Bethany House Services will provide services to assist them out of homelessness.
Families can stay overnight at Churches Active in Northside’s Grace Place facility, a setting that resembles a home for those with children. Volunteers from Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati will help prepare meals and activities for the families.
A bus will transport families between Grace Place and the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati Day Center, where they will have access to laundry, showers and personal hygiene supplies.
Homeless families can access shelter by contacting the Central Access Point, Hamilton County's centralized shelter service operated by Strategies to End Homelessness at 513-381-SAFE
Those interested in making a donation to homeless families can click here.