by German Lopez
Money would put shelter closer to $75,000 minimum goal
City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee on Thursday
called for the city administration to locate $30,000 to help fund the
winter shelter, which would push the shelter closer to the $75,000 it
needs to remain open from mid-to-late December through February.
The shelter currently estimates it’s at approximately
$32,000 in contributions, according to Josh Spring, executive director
of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition.
The city administration now needs to locate the money and
turn the transaction into an ordinance, which will officially allocate
the funds. Spring says that should go in front of the Budget and Finance
Committee in the next couple weeks.
Although the $75,000 is often cited as the shelter’s goal,
Spring emphasizes that it’s only the minimum. If early March turns out
to be a particularly cold, the shelter would prefer to stay open for
some extra time, which would require money above the $75,000 minimum.
But without the city’s contribution, the shelter won’t have enough money to stay open beyond even 30 days.
Spring says the program is necessary to keep Cincinnati’s
homeless population from freezing to death. Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld
echoed the sentiment at Thursday’s committee meeting, saying it would be
shameful if the city allowed people to die due to winter conditions.
The winter shelter aims to house 91 people each night and
kept roughly 600 people from the cold throughout the 2012-2013 season,
according to Spring.
“It’s a relatively cheap program to run,” Spring previously told CityBeat. “To serve about 600 people with $75,000 is pretty good.”
Still, Spring says money has been more difficult to
collect this year. He attributes that to reduced enthusiasm as the
concept becomes more commonplace.
“When we started doing this three years ago, it was sort
of a new thing,” Spring explained. “It’s not so new anymore, which makes
bringing in dollars more difficult. But the need hasn’t changed.”
The shelter is put together by the Greater Cincinnati
Homeless Coalition, Drop Inn Center, Strategies to End Homelessness,
Society of St. Vincent De Paul and Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition
of Cincinnati. It’s supported largely by private contributions.
Anyone can donate to the winter shelter — and Drop Inn Center — at tinyurl.com/WinterShelterCincinnati. To contribute specifically to the winter shelter, type in “winter shelter” in the text box below “Designation (Optional).”