Homeless shelters see lack of funding during cold months

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Homeless shelters in Hamilton County don't have enough space during the cold months to help those in need.

James Brewster has stayed in shelters for a little while now, but he's working hard to get his life back on track.

"You know you lose things and you have to regain them and have to start over again," says Brewster.

Year round shelters like the Drop in Center where James Brewster stays don't have the capacity to expand in the middle of the winter.

"The dollars literally pay for the staffing and security to be there so that everyone will be safe," explains Kevin Finn.

Kevin Finn says the winter shelter did receive a generous $50,000 from the city to support the homeless. However, they need about $75,000 to accommodate the normal winter schedule from mid December through the end of February.

"When we have a stretch of weather like this early before the middle of December, it just adds urgency to the need," says Finn.

Finn says there's about 750 people on the street or in a shelter on any given night.

"You have people to help motivate you and that helps, no one likes to be alone," adds Brewster.

Prior to 2011, additional shelter space was only available to homeless people on nights when the temperature dipped below 10 degrees. But Strategies to End Homelessness changed that. Today, they still work to raise the money to accommodate more people.

"Once you get a few years out and it's not shiny and new anymore, it's not so easy to raise the money anymore. The need is just as great, but the dollars are harder to come by," says Finn.

Brewster says he's thankful for all those that are helping him, especially because these shelters aren't just a place to stay. He's learning how to not become homeless anymore.

"It saves lives and it just gets people off the streets and into a home like a normal person, make them feel wanted," says Brewster.

Along with the additional section of the Drop in Center, the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church also offers additional winter shelter during the coldest months of the year.

Donations to support the Winter Shelter can be made to Strategies to End Homelessness by visiting www.strategiestoendhomelessness.org, or by calling 513.263.2780.

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