OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) - A winter shelter opened to its full capacity on Wednesday in Over-the-Rhine.
Officials say everyone is welcome at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, located at 1528 Race Street, and the shelter is open every night from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m.
"You can come in out of the bad weather and have a warm, safe place to stay until the weather gets better," said Fanni Johnson, with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. "When it's really cold you can really get into some serious trouble because if the weather is bad enough you could freeze."
Homeless Coalition statistics say approximately 30 homeless people die every year in Cincinnati, as a direct result of exposure to the elements.
"Every year you hope you won't see the same people. You hope that the need won't be as great. But so far, that has not happened," said Johnson.
Nearly 870 homeless individuals and families needed the emergency shelter in Cincinnati last winter.
Prior to 2011, a warm shelter was only opened if the temperature dropped below 10 degrees. Now, with the help of donations, the shelter can stay open every night through February 2013.