Homelessness

cincinnati edition
Jim Nolan / WVXU

Vice President Mike Pence visits Cincinnati to tout President Trump and tax cuts. Ohio gubernatorial candidates Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray promote their economic and workforce development plans for the state. The friction between current Ohio Governor John Kasich and President Trump increases as Trump plans a visit to Columbus next week. The City of Cincinnati continues to be at odds with the people who populate homeless camps in the city. And an outbreak of hepatitis A prompts a call for all Northern Kentucky residents to get vaccinated for the disease.

michael johnson united way
Courtesy Matt Steffen

When Michael Johnson stepped into the role as the next President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, he also stepped out into the community. He met with people living in a homeless camp downtown. Next, he will host pop-up community events to find out more about the issues facing neighbors living in each of the counties the United Way serves.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Updated: 3:20 p.m.

Now, homeless camps are banned from all of Hamilton County by court order. 

cincinnati edition
Jim Nolan / WVXU

Hamilton County commissioners rescind a sales tax increase under threat of a lawsuit. Now they have to find a way to address the county's structural deficit. Businesses at The Banks want to know when and where the proposed new riverfront music venue will be located. Cincinnati residents will be asked to approve at least four Charter amendments in November, and that number could grow. The City of Cincinnati continues to clear homeless camps out of downtown. And more changes are in store for local TV news operations.

third street homeless camp
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Acting Cincinnati City Manager Patrick Duhaney said Wednesday the city is moving forward with plans to clear a homeless camp stretching along Third Street in Downtown.

Those living in the camp have been given notice that they'll be asked to leave the area by Friday with cleaning to begin that afternoon.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Last week the City of Cincinnati shutdown and fenced off an area near Paul Brown Stadium that had been the site of a homeless camp. Now, city officials are looking at options for how to respond to the homeless camps that remain along Third Street and another encampment underneath a highway overpass near U.S. Bank Arena.

Courtesy / City of Cincinnati

The five yellow donation stations in Downtown Cincinnati, installed as an alternative to giving money to panhandlers, haven't seen a lot of donations since they were installed about a year ago.

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) reports between $300 to $350 has been collected from the re-purposed parking meters.

matthew desmond evicted
Provided

On any given night, there are more than 600,000 people in America living on the streets or in shelters. Nearly a quarter of them are children. Others are living with a relative or friend. Or in cars.

No more concrete benches along Third Street in Downtown Cincinnati will be removed, and those that have been taken out will be replaced.  

The city took action last month after complaints from several groups.

Provided

An annual report on homelessness in Hamilton County is turning up some surprises. 

Courtesy / City of Cincinnati

There are now five donation stations in downtown Cincinnati where people can give money to help the homeless population.  

The city along with Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated (DCI) and 3CDC are partnering for the effort.  

Pixabay.com

While the majority of individuals who don’t have access to safe and secure housing are in their situations due to economic reasons, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20 to 25 percent of the homeless population in the United States suffers from some form of severe mental illness.

Pexels, available for use

According to local service agency Shelterhouse, almost 8,000 Cincinnatians, including children, are homeless. A variety of factors can lead to homelessness, including mental illness, drug addiction, traumatic events and personal crisis.

Pixabay, available for use

Homelessness doesn’t just affect adults – it can affect entire families. 

A Cincinnati Council majority seems to like the idea of providing seasonal jobs to about 15 to 20 homeless people.  

But there are some who have concerns about using $50,000 from a city contingency fund to pay for it.

Cincinnati is being asked to fund a homeless-to-work pilot program.  The full council could vote on the issue Wednesday.  

It would offer seasonal jobs to 15 to 20 homeless people.

Several agencies have been working for a couple years on a plan to reduce family homelessness in Cincinnati.  That proposal is now a reality.  

“Solutions to Family Homelessness Plan” focuses on four areas:  prevention, capacity building, housing and policy change.  

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

A replacement for an Over-the-Rhine homeless shelter opens next week.  The David and Rebecca Barron Center for Men has three times the space of the Drop Inn Center, according to Shelterhouse director Arlene Nolan.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

It's been almost a year since Cincinnati was chosen as one of just two cities to pilot a federal LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative.

During a site visit Wednesday, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Senior Advisor Jennifer Ho said Cincinnati is doing well and ready to move from planning to doing.

Strategies to End Homelessness is celebrating some good news in Hamilton County's homeless numbers. The just released 2014 Community Data Report finds homelessness declined to levels not seen since 2010.

Preliminary information shows the number of homeless people in Cincinnati and Hamilton County declined slightly during a point-in-time count last month.  

The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities to make the count once a year during the last week of January.  

Kevin Finn with Strategies to End Homelessness said this year there 1,029 people counted compared to 1,043 last year.

Panhandlers are an all-too-common sight in most large cities, including Cincinnati, and even though non-aggressive panhandling is legal here, it can be bothersome to visitors, residents and workers. And giving a panhandler money is not the best way to truly help the suffering. Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated recently launched a program to make people more aware of local agencies and services, such as the Winter Shelter, and how they better serve those in need. Joining us to talk about the Panhandling Education Program and helping the homeless in Cincinnati are Cincinnati Police Captain Mike Neville, David Ginsburg, president and CEO of Downtown Cincinnati Inc., and Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness.

Homeless census starts tonight

Jan 27, 2015

**UPDATE 1-29-15** Strategies to End Homelessness has secured $15.3 million dollars from a HUD grant.  

A press release from the group on Wednesday says Hamilton County and Cincinnati are sharing in $1.8 billion in grants to be distributed nationwide,  announced in the last week.  

Downtown Cincinnati Inc. is launching an effort to decrease panhandling while maintaining or increasing support to social services.  DCI president David Ginsburg says the group is publicizing agencies that try to get to the root of poverty.

Cincinnati Council could soon be asked to add homeless status or perceived homeless status to the city's hate crimes law.

Council Member Chris Seelbach and others are making the announcement Thursday during a press conference near the Drop Inn Center in Over-the-Rhine.

"Which means that if police determine that the crime was committed because the person was homeless or perceived to be homeless, then a judge could add up to 180 days on the sentence of the person who committed the crime," Seelbach said.

Mark Heyne / WVXU News

City Gospel Mission, 3CDC and Strategies to End Homelessness officially kicked off  construction of the City Gospel Mission Campus Thursday morning. The new campus at 1805 Dalton Avenue is part of the five-facility system of Cincinnati's Homeless to Homes Plan.  It will provide 74 emergency beds and 36 transitional housing beds.

"We'll have day service programs, case management, recreation and three meals a day," said City Gospel Mission President Roger Howell.  "Our other facility will have the Lord's Gym, which is recreation and working out, getting your body back in shape."

 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati-area groups are working together to test a federal pilot program aimed at reducing the number of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Meredith Hicks with Lighthouse Youth Services explains why the region is one of just two in the country chosen to try out new strategies targeting this vulnerable population.

Homeless children, teens and young adults are a rising concern for police and social workers in Hamilton County.

Lighthouse Youth Services CEO Bob Mecum says homeless kids used to mainly be unhappy runaways.

"Today we're seeing kids who are, for the most part, long-term victims of poverty, long-term victims of neglect, and physical and sexual abuse," says Mecum.

Addiction is another major problem. Mecum says heroin use today is unprecedented and often passed down to children by their parents.

Sarah Ramsey

Two companies that would be neighbors of the relocated Drop Inn Center in Queensgate are expressing concerns about the plan.  

A city council committee heard from proponents of the plan two weeks ago, and Tuesday it heard from representatives of two companies that say they need more information.  

Richard Posey is with K4, an architecture, design and construction firm with a facility in Queensgate.  He said one issue is security and safety for employees.

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