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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Groups Want City's Help To Shelter Homeless This Winter During COVID-19

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The economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many more people to live on the streets in Cincinnati. That's concerning with winter coming and reduced capacity with the traditional shelter plan for colder months. 

Georgine Getty is with Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and Social Center, which serves a number of homeless people.

"When we look at our pre-COVID numbers, a lot of the people who are experiencing homelessness were experiencing it in a shelter," she said. "They were still homeless but they were actually sheltered. And now we're seeing a lot more people who are honest to god living outside on the street."

The organizations addressing council say right now there are about 450-600 people living on the streets daily in the city. 

The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition and some partner organizations are asking the city for about $4 million to assist with sheltering people this winter. 

The city's traditional winter shelter was at Shelterhouse in Queensgate. It usually can house 150-200 people a night. With COVID and social distancing requirements, that number is expected to be 50-75 this year.

Josh Spring with the Homeless Coalition addressed a council committee Monday about the plan developed by several organizations.

"First part, get as many people into housing now as possible," Spring said. "Second part, increase the services at the winter shelter, again focused on getting people in housing. Third part is have some of the capacity we need inside of hotels. But not just drop people off and walk away. So, have onsite staffing and again the case management to connect to the rapid rehousing."

The $4 million for the plan could come from money the city has received from the federal government through the CARES Act.