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Maslow's Army Day Shelter To Stay Open Thanks To Hamilton County Funding

Maslow's Army
The day shelter opened in December 2020.

The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to approve new funding for the Maslow's Army day shelter in Queensgate. The unanimous vote comes after shelter staff said they'd have to shut down without more funding.

"I appreciate the creative thinking that took place and also moving very quickly to make things happen," said Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas.

The Board approved about $128,000 in leftover CARES Act money for the shelter — enough for about three months of operating expenses.  

The money comes from $500,000 set aside in case hospitals are overwhelmed and a temporary health care facility is needed. As COVID-19 vaccine distribution increases, officials say it's less and less likely that money will be needed. About $371,000 remains for that purpose, which could be re-allocated in the future.

Maslow's Army received $3 million in CARES Act funding from the county last year. It opened the shelter in December to offer daytime services to people experiencing homelessness when overnight shelters are closed.

The Board also voted 2-1 to hire a new position to help manage new federal stimulus funding.

The county administrator says current staff were spread thin while managing CARES Act funding distribution. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be distributed over the next three years.

"I would prefer not to have any of our staff who are doing full-time jobs otherwise distracted for three years trying to figure out how to implement this," said Commissioner Denise Driehaus.

Vice President Alicia Reece says she doesn't support hiring someone new until the county has a plan for how to spend the money.

"We're putting [in] additional people and we don't even have the rules of what we can do, we haven't even decided what we want to do," Reece said. Hers was the only "no" vote.

Funding for the new position would come from the $158 million the county is expecting from ARPA.  

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.