Centers make room for homeless trying to survive brutal temperatures

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Outreach teams spent the morning combing homeless camps, looking under bridges and on park benches for anyone trying to survive brutal temperatures.

They say without a warm place to stay, many of the chronically homeless may not make it through the week.

Marvin Johnson moved into the Drop Inn Center downtown five months ago after being released from prison.

"I'm usually here most of the week if I'm not working. Something to do to keep me busy during the day," says Johnson.

When he's not working, saving enough money to get off the street, he's helping in the shelter kitchen serving others like him.

"I never had my own apartment before so I come here to try to get my own apartment. That way I could have somewhere my son could be," says Johnson.

He is one of the lucky ones. He has seen others not as fortunate.

"All the shelters are full and they ain't got no room for them. That is kind of hurtful," says Johnson.

That is why during the coldest part of the year, the Drop Inn Center has added extra capacity. Kevin Finn, President of Strategies to End Homelessness says more than 100 cots are spread out all over the second floor of the Drop Inn Shelter. From 9:00pm to 6:00am, anyone who needs a warm place to sleep can find it there.

"I would expect that more people would seek shelter over the next couple of days when it's going to be really, really cold," says Finn."This is pretty no frills in terms of this is a basic place to lay down and go to sleep and that is basically all people are committing to by coming in."

Finn says the cots are mainly for those in the homeless community who refuse to accept other services or provide necessary information to receive services. He says this way they can get a warm night's rest no questions asked, helping them survive at least one more night.

The extra cots are available from mid December through the end of February. Finn expects to be at full capacity Monday and Tuesday but anyone looking to get out of the cold will not be turned away.

There are other warming centers around the Tri-State. The Butler County Sheriff's Office opened its lobby. There is a center on Lebanon Road in Loveland and one on Weekly Lane in Symmes Township.

To help feed and house the homeless during the winter months, you can click here to donate money. You can also donate directly to the Drop Inn Center here.

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