Winter shelter hopes to hold on until spring

OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) - A shelter in Over-the-Rhine is hoping to remain open throughout the winter, despite problems it may face in the coming months ahead.

The Prince of Peace Lutheran Church quickly reached full capacity on Wednesday night, due to cold winter temperatures. As a result, the shelter was forced to turn people away and find other available facilities to send them to, including the nearby Drop Inn Center.

Shelter officials said they are worried about keeping their doors open through February because of high demand and financial restraints. "So that is a huge problem," said Josh Spring, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. "If you can imagine sleeping outside even when its warm, much less when its freezing."

The shelter averages about 100 people per night, looking for a safe and warm place to sleep. However, it only has capacity for 45 people. "We won't turn folks away," said Spring. "We'll accept people when they come. It might mean folks are a little tighter together but we'll accept people. Everyone can come and no one will be turned away."

The Prince of Peace Lutheran Church shelter is partly funded by area organizations, including the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition and the Drop Inn Center. Nevertheless, it relies heavily on donations to operate and pay employees.

Officials at the shelter say anyone who wishes to make a donation can do so by visiting the Drop Inn Center's web site, or by contacting them directly at (513) 721-0643.

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