Homelessness

Cincinnati Council could soon be asked to add homeless status or perceived homeless status to the city's hate crimes law.

Council Member Chris Seelbach and others are making the announcement Thursday during a press conference near the Drop Inn Center in Over-the-Rhine.

"Which means that if police determine that the crime was committed because the person was homeless or perceived to be homeless, then a judge could add up to 180 days on the sentence of the person who committed the crime," Seelbach said.

Mark Heyne / WVXU News

City Gospel Mission, 3CDC and Strategies to End Homelessness officially kicked off  construction of the City Gospel Mission Campus Thursday morning. The new campus at 1805 Dalton Avenue is part of the five-facility system of Cincinnati's Homeless to Homes Plan.  It will provide 74 emergency beds and 36 transitional housing beds.

"We'll have day service programs, case management, recreation and three meals a day," said City Gospel Mission President Roger Howell.  "Our other facility will have the Lord's Gym, which is recreation and working out, getting your body back in shape."

 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati-area groups are working together to test a federal pilot program aimed at reducing the number of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

Meredith Hicks with Lighthouse Youth Services explains why the region is one of just two in the country chosen to try out new strategies targeting this vulnerable population.

Homeless children, teens and young adults are a rising concern for police and social workers in Hamilton County.

Lighthouse Youth Services CEO Bob Mecum says homeless kids used to mainly be unhappy runaways.

"Today we're seeing kids who are, for the most part, long-term victims of poverty, long-term victims of neglect, and physical and sexual abuse," says Mecum.

Addiction is another major problem. Mecum says heroin use today is unprecedented and often passed down to children by their parents.

Sarah Ramsey

Two companies that would be neighbors of the relocated Drop Inn Center in Queensgate are expressing concerns about the plan.  

A city council committee heard from proponents of the plan two weeks ago, and Tuesday it heard from representatives of two companies that say they need more information.  

Richard Posey is with K4, an architecture, design and construction firm with a facility in Queensgate.  He said one issue is security and safety for employees.

Sarah Ramsey

Construction on the new Drop Inn Center could begin later this summer and the facility could be open in August 2015.  It will be moving from its current location in Over-the-Rhine to Queensgate.

A Cincinnati Council committee received an update on the project Tuesday from Executive Director Arlene Nolan.  She said several sites were considered before one was selected.

Provided

Cincinnati Council could vote Wednesday to withdraw support for a controversial housing project in Avondale.  National Church Residences wants to build up to 100 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless and disabled individuals. 

City Council approved a resolution in February supporting the group's effort to get low income housing tax credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.  Those credits have since been approved. 

Giorgio Conrad

New numbers suggest more families are becoming homeless in Greater Cincinnati. The five shelters who serve them (Bethany House Services, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati, Mercy Health at St. John's, The Salvation Army and the YWCA) report a 31-percent increase in the number of calls to a help line in the past year.  

An appeals court has affirmed a lower court decision allowing the City Gospel Mission to relocate its facility to Queensgate.

The homeless shelter is planning to move from Over The Rhine to property located on Dalton Avenue.

Several neighboring Queensgate businesses and property owners, who oppose the relocation, filed a lawsuit in 2011 challenging a City Council action that allowed the plan to move forward.

One of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population is families with children, nationally and here in Greater Cincinnati. During the recent recession many parents have become homeless suddenly and unexpectedly, and now struggle to take care of their children while trying to get back on their feet.

Our guests on Impact Cincinnati this week are Executive Director of Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati, Georgine Getty, and Family Promise of Northern Kentucky Executive Director, Lisa Desmarais.

Update:  The $7 million Cincinnati is borrowing to relocate homeless shelters will only be used for two projects and not three as earlier reported.  

Council Member Chris Seelbach said City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. mis-spoke Wednesday when he said the funds would benefit three shelters.  

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