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City of Cincinnati poised to transfer millions of dollars for winter homeless shelter needs

'We've made some progress'
Posted at 1:38 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 16:49:49-05

CINCINNATI — People experiencing homelessness in Hamilton County won’t be left in the cold on New Year’s Day.

That’s because the city of Cincinnati and the nonprofit organization Strategies to End Homelessness have finalized an agreement for the city to release millions of dollars in federal grant money to help people who are homeless during the pandemic.

Earlier this month, homeless service providers were concerned that the city’s delays could result in a gap in services. Hamilton County had given homeless shelter operators CARES Act funds to help with the increased need this winter, but those funds were set to expire at the end of this month. The more than $3 million in federal grant money that the city has available can be used in 2021.

RELATED: Could funding day push homeless people back onto the streets Jan. 1?

Kevin Finn, the CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness, told WCPO 9 that he is signing the agreement today and returning it to the city for final approvals.

“We’ve made some progress. It’s not inked and signed,” he said.

Finn said he’s confident the agreement will be signed in time for winter shelter operations to continue into January.

City representatives couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. A spokesperson for the city administration told WCPO 9 earlier this month that city officials were certain an agreement could be reached.

“Once the city receives STEH sign-off, we can execute an amendment for the remaining allocation by the end of the year to address the additional capacity for the winter months,” an administration official responded in a Dec. 18 email.

Homeless shelter operators first approached Cincinnati City Council in September with a plan to expand winter shelter operations because of the growing number of people experiencing homelessness and living outside.

RELATED: As pandemic rages, this winter would be worst in years for homelessness

After the city completes its final approvals, Finn said the money will be transferred to Strategies to End Homelessness, which will then distribute it to homeless service providers.

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 Lucy and for WCPO 9. To reach Lucy, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.