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Maslow's Army May Have New Home In Hamilton County

Bill Rinehart
Since January 2017, Maslow's Army has been helping homeless people in Cincinnati with food, clothing and other basic needs.

Hamilton County may have a place for Maslow's Army to set up. The group has been handing out food and supplies to the homeless on Fountain Square, but have been told they can't stay -- Sunday was the nonprofit's last day at that location. County Administrator Jeff Aluotto recommends using the plaza outside the Justice Center.

"I did speak directly with the sheriff's office," Aluotto says. "I can say that they are open to the possibility of partnering. Although, in fairness, Maslow's Army has not met with the sheriff yet, so we have some operational implications to work through." He says that includes making sure policies allow for the distribution of food on the property.

Maslow's Army has been looking for a permanent distribution site since 3CDC said they couldn't use Fountain Square because of previously scheduled events.

Aluotto says he's aware some clients of Maslow's Army might be hesitant to go near the Justice Center for various reasons, and he wants to be sensitive to that. He says in reality, the sheriff's office has lots of motivation to help people stay out of jail.

Commission President Todd Portune says he's thankful for his fellow commissioners willingness to discuss helping Maslow's Army.

"I appreciate the work of our board as presenting a different face of Hamilton County than has been in the headlines in terms of other activity that has worked to move people from one place to another without showing the humanitarian side of the county," he says. 

The Hamilton County prosecutor went before a judge earlier this summer to get orders to shut down so-called tent cities on public land.

Commissioners could make a decision on Maslow's Army at Wednesday's meeting.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio in markets including Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.