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3CDC Offers to Move Drop Inn Center

Homeless advocates concerned about accessibility, number of beds

By Amanda Amsel · June 2nd, 2010 · News
Each year thousands of Cincinnati residents wonder where they’re going to sleep each night. Now an offer to restructure and potentially move the city’s largest homeless shelter has many questioning if the offer is sufficient to meet those needs.

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) recently made an offer to help move the 250-bed Drop Inn Center and build a new shelter at a different location in the city.

3CDC and many city officials want to move the shelter from its current location on West 12 th Street in Over-the Rhine due to efforts to revitalize the area, including the newly constructed School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) and the soon-to-be overhauled Music Hall and Washington Park. Move supporters include Mayor Mark Mallory, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and a City Council majority.

3CDC is a nonprofit developer that partners with City Hall to help redevelop parts of downtown and Over-the Rhine. Its offer proposes helping the shelter ind a new site and building a facility that would serve up to 50 homeless men and dispersing the remaining beds to other facilities.

The new center would be part of the city’s Homeless to Homes initiative, aimed at helping homeless people not only ind shelter but eventually move out of homelessness by offering them permanent housing.

“The purpose of this initiative is to provide a higher level of service to these individuals,” says Kevin Finn, executive director of the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care for the Homeless. “Residents would have case mangers and a working plan aimed at getting them out of homelessness.”

The initiative includes building a safe walk-in shelter, a single women’s shelter, a young adult shelter, two separate men’s shelters and a faith-based shelter. Combined, the shelters could offer a similar amount of beds as the Drop Inn does now, just at multiple sites.

Homeless advocates criticized what they called scare tactics used by Finn and Qualls in a May 14 Enquirer article about the move. Both mentioned potential problems with convicted sex offenders being located next to the new SCPA, but homeless advocates noted that no sex offenders stay at the Drop Inn.

Opponents of the offer to move and rebuild the center argue that those shelters are simply potential ideas and the city doesn’t currently have the money to actually build them.

“There is no grand offer or even a site to build these shelters,” says Josh Spring, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless.

“This offer from 3CDC has been portrayed like 3CDC is bringing new money to the table. In reality, 3CDC is going to the city and foundations to get money for this.”

3CDC representatives declined to comment.

While supporters of the Drop Inn move concede they don’t have all the money for the shelters allocated yet, they have found ways to use preexisting taxpayer funds to pay for the projects.

“Right now taxpayer money is not being used as efficiently as it could be,” says Peg Moertl, chairwoman of the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care for the Homeless. “We plan to use this money more effectively to better serve the homeless.”

Critics counter that simply moving around beds won’t reduce homelessness and is a waste of taxpayer money.

“If they really want to end homelessness, they should be concentrating on building permanent housing for these people,” Spring says.

“Shuffling people from one place to another is not going to end homelessness and will cost millions and millions of dollars.”

The redevelopment of Over-the-Rhine has also had many people questioning the true motivation behind 3CDC’s proposal.

Currently, 3CDC is involved in the multimillion-dollar makeover of Washington Park, which is across the street from the Drop Inn Center.

“3CDC is working with the city to redevelop Washington Park and make it more attractive toward people who live outside the city,” Spring says. “In the process, they are trying to hide and cleanse the area of people who are homeless, poor or handicapped.”

If the Drop Inn Center were to close, he says, these people would have nowhere to go and would be worse off than they were before.

“I constantly have homeless people asking me when they are coming for them,” Spring says. “It must be horrible to feel like your own legislature doesn’t want you.”

Finn was quick to point out, though, that nothing in the Homeless to Homes initiative says that the Drop Inn Center must move.

“It is the Drop Inn Center’s decision as to if they can best serve homeless people where they are at now or at a new facility,” he says. “We can implement this plan at their current location or at a new location, so the inal decision is completely up to them.”

Drop Inn Center oficials haven’t decided whether to accept 3CDC’s offer and are still at the beginning stages of evaluating the proposal.

“We are interested in serving our residents in the best possible way,” says Pat Clifford, executive director of the Drop Inn Center. “We are open to hearing any ideas or suggestions that would make us do our job better.”

Whether someone favors the proposal or not, Qualls says the bottom line is more needs to be done to help the homeless population in Cincinnati.

“This is the irst time in over 40 years that we have had the opportunity to really address the homeless issue in Cincinnati,” she says. “It’s time for the community to step up to the plate, and the longer we delay the longer these people are going to suffer.” �



06.05.2010 at 09:03 Reply
I understand that there are hard times and it is not beyond my understanding since there was a real chance that I could have lost my house at one point. Luckily, I had a job and the determination to not become homeless. I just had a kidney transplant and could not work. I did not allow this to keep me back and worked even harder to stay out of that situation. I also know the opportunities that are around the city for the homeless and the ones that decide to stay that way regardless of this fact. Is it possible that these individuals go from a feeling of freedom from reality to a feeling of desperation that drives them to alcohol, stealing and panhandling? It's not right and I don't see why I have to feel subjected to their choice of lifestyle. This of course considers me as a adult, which is no longer the case. The School for Creative and Performing Arts has built a new building that happens to be directly in front of a fantastic park that at this point is mostly frequented by such individuals (scaring off others in different situations) as well as other dangerous situations. A drop inn shelter that offers assistance to not only those who truly need the help but those who take advantage of the system and often anyone within the vicinity is also right there and in question. I am not saying that just because someone is homeless that they are a bad or dangerous. I am saying that it's not safe to take the chance with our children, who are impressionable and naive. I really like the idea of placing varied shelters around other areas of the city where lower "residents" can be better helped to become sufficient contributing members of society. The city needs to do more than just give them a bed and a meal and such a large facility gives no identity to each person as an individual. Give them the chance to be their own person again and give our kids a better learning environment to feel safe in.


06.08.2010 at 09:57 Reply
The pirates of industry/CEO’s that make up 3CDC have stolen, pillaged and raped the public treasury for decades. Now the Corporate Welfare Queens & Kings from Indian Hills want to take back the city they abandoned decades ago. Moving SCPA had nothing to do with helping the school or its students, it was just a corporate backed scheme to gentrify OTR at the public’s expense. 3CDC’s “offer” to “help” move the DIC is more smoke and mirrors from City Hall’s corporate paymasters. Kevin Finn is a shill for 3CDC and he has a lot of nerve pushing 3CDC’s propaganda and demonizing the homeless while pretending to be an advocate for the homeless. Shame on him! If he had any conscience at all he couldn’t sleep at night. And Roxanne Qualls says “this is the first time in over 40 years we have had the opportunity to really address the homeless issue in Cincinnati”? Really, I thought she was the Mayor at a time when this city didn’t have a $50 million dollar budget deficit and a crisis with the retirement fund. Was she inept? No. I can’t think of a better example of a corporate Democrat being a faux progressive and a real corporate servant (except when she pushed for Mike Brown’s sweetheart stadium deal). Where was the concern from Finn, Qualls and the rest when there was an elementary school next to the DIC for about 20 years? Oh yeah, they didn’t have any concerns and nothing bad ever happened to any of the kids. I think George Orwell may be rolling in his grave.


06.09.2010 at 12:47 Reply
“3CDC is working with the city to redevelop Washington Park and make it more attractive toward people who live outside the city,” Spring says. “In the process, they are trying to hide and cleanse the area of people who are homeless, poor or handicapped.” As someone who lives 3 blocks from the park, uses it often and even got married in washington park I take offense at this group and their positions. I love the park, but it doesn't change the fact that there is open air drug dealing and drunkeness in the park. The 'rights' of some people to use the park should not make other people feel unsafe. Having a drop in center and other concentration of social services in the park was a policy error and needs to be addressed. IF you really wanted to advocate for the homeless you would push for them to be integrated into their own communities, and not concentrated in an area where they have access to drugs alcohol and whatever else is the root cause of their homelessness.


06.10.2010 at 02:23
The problem is 3CDC isn't working with the residents. The residents have been clear about the things that are important to them. I've seen no evidence that homeless people are doing open air drug dealing. Dealing drugs is already illegal and if you see it going on you should call the cops. But don't demonize homeless people. There are drugs and alcohol in every community. The root cause of the problem is a lack of affordable and supportive housing as well as a lack of jobs with decent wages. The Drop Inn Center has been serving the community well for a long time. They aren't the problem, they have been part of the solution and helped many people get back on their feet.


06.09.2010 at 06:03 Reply
Christina, having housing and a job to maintain, in no way puts you in a position of relation to those who have never had a house or never had a real job beyond temp work.(Which if you knew how little these companies often pay the homeless, you would understand why panhandling could be useful to them.) It's important to understand the issue of homelessness before you postulate a self-gratifying position upon simplified impotence. For the sake of argument HUD's definition of homelessness is as following: a. someone lacking fixed or earned income b. a person who stays at a shelter, asylum, or in places that are deemed uninhabitable for human life i.e. under bridges, abandoned buildings etc. There is a definitive assumption that these people should be somehow be held accountable as a whole for their own current condition. However, this position in no way explores the reasons for their homelessness. Exp: Aids, homosexuality, lack of affordable housing, mental retardation, MENTAL ILLNESS. Contrary to status quo belief, homelessness has a much broader range of causes other than addiction and crime. In a more general sense it is important for the quo to understand that inequality does and has existed for those whose actions don't justify their ends. Exp: slavery, woman's suffrage (lack thereof). I'm fed up with middle-class urbanites making assumptions based upon socioeconomic stereotypes and caste-defining ignorance. aagst7, Washington Park, like all other parks, has an obligation to serve those of whom inhabit it's community. Parks, in general, serve civilians in recreation and in the preservation of organic life. (Woodrow Wilson, 1916 creation of the NPS) The deduction of organic life ( 90 trees to be removed) and the establishment of concessions (dog park, city parking garages, a plaza that flows down from music hall) that are in no way complimentary to Over The Rhine is a perpetration of civil and political rights. Washington Park must be veiwed for what it is, a "pivotal" the movement in our city's effort to displace the remaining residents of Over the Rhine.