Homeless turn to OTR cold shelter this season

OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) - For many, the holiday season means catching up with friends and family around a Christmas tree. However, things are a little different for those spending the holidays outdoors.

With the frigid temperatures outside over this Christmas holiday, the cold weather shelter at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Race Street opened to handle the need on December 10.

In that time, hundreds have come by looking for a warm place to stay.

"The numbers that we are seeing in the cold shelter are high, but not unmanageable," said Arlene Nolan, executive director of the Drop Inn Center.

The Drop Inn Center is one of the organizations that helps run the shelter at the church.

"With the opening of the winter shelter, we can accommodate the expanded need allowing people to come out of the cold and be safe and warm," Nolan added.

Nicholas Krogman is 21-years old.  He spends nearly every night at the shelter.

"It does have comfort knowing that I can at least be in warmth, instead of having to be out in the snow at night, asleep and then possibly freeze," said Krogman.

Freezing to death is a serious concern for shelter organizers, as well as Krogman.

If it weren't for the cold weather shelter, he'd spend his nights in the cold in a vacant lot just across the street from the church on Race Street.

"Would you be out in the streets," FOX19 asked.

"Right," responded Krogman.

"Not where you want to be this time of year, I'd imagine," FOX19 asked.

"Not at all," said Krogman.

Many people coming to the shelter are the same way.

"We've had as many as 160 people per night.  We prefer about 100 people," Nolan told FOX19.

The people coming to this cold weather shelter are not fed, they're simply given a place to stay.  The shelter opens at 9 PM, and closes around 6 AM.

Nolan says they've already helped 200 different people this year, and have only been open for two weeks.  Compare that from December to February last year.  During that time, they helped 600 different people.

To learn more about the shelter at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and safety tips for cold weather, www.Cincinnati-OH.gov

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