Winter shelter for Cincinnati's homeless population opens Thursday

Posted at 10:09 AM, Dec 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 06:05:54-05

CINCINNATI -- With wind chills forecast to drop into the single digits Friday morning, the opening of the winter shelter by Strategies to End Homelessness comes in the nick of time.

The winter shelter opens each year to ensure that homeless people can access shelter when temperatures drop. Opening Thursday, the winter shelter can serve up to 200 homeless people per night over and above Hamilton County’s 675 year-round shelter beds, during the season when demand for shelter is highest. The winter shelter operates through February.

Throughout the years, Strategies to End Homelessness, Shelterhouse, the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition and the City of Cincinnati have worked together to add capacity to the local shelter system and ensure that no one freezes outside on the streets. In addition to having a safe, warm place to sleep, our community’s most vulnerable homeless citizens have improved access to support services designed to help them out of homelessness.

For years, the winter shelter operated out of makeshift quarters, but this winter will be the second during which seasonal shelter capacity is provided in a permanent location at 411 Gest St., allowing the homeless services system to shelter everyone in need during the coldest months of the year. 

“We have been working to ensure that everyone who needs to come in off the streets has a warm place to sleep,” said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness. “We’ve secured 90 percent of the funding needed to staff and operate the winter shelter through February. Of course, it can still be very cold in March, and if the weather calls for the winter shelter to stay open longer, that requires even more resources."

Donations specifically for the winter shelter can be made at the website here or by calling 513.263.2785.