Tri-State shelters fill up as temperatures cool down - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Tri-State shelters fill up as temperatures cool down

(FOX19) (FOX19)

Tri-State emergency cold weather shelters are struggling to meet the increased need as temperatures plunge across the nation.

According to Strategies to End Homelessness, 105 people were housed in the Hamilton County winter shelter Monday night, on top of the 670 local people who sleep in shelter beds year-round. Officials say this number is a 16 percent increase in the amount of people who typically stay in local shelters. 

In Hamilton County, 670 emergency shelter beds are available throughout the year, according to Strategies to End Homelessness. An additional 100-150 winter shelter bed are added from mid-December through February, when temperatures are the coldest. 

"The demand for winter shelter has been greater than expected this winter," said Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness. "It is our responsibility to ensure homeless people have a safe, warm place to sleep. However, such increased and early demand could exhaust resources that we hope will last us through February."

The winter shelter provides a place to sleep at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Race Street and the Drop Inn Center facility on 12th Street. About 160 people can be sheltered at each of those locations but no one is ever turned away, even when full capacity is reached. Housing those 160 people costs around $1,000 per night, according to Strategies to End Homelessness.

Due to the frigid temperatures this week, the Butler County Sheriff's Office is setting up a temporary warming center in the office's lobby. 

"No one should be stranded outside or in a vehicle during these extreme low temperatures." said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones. "If you need a place to go, you are welcome here in our lobby. These temperature conditions can be life-threatening and we do have restroom facilities available."

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