(Over-the-Rhine) -- The City of Cincinnati hasn't operated winter shelters for a couple of years now. Instead, they've turned the responsibility over to private organizations, to open up someplace warm every night during the winter. Several organizations, including Saint Vincent DePaul, the Drop Inn Center and the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition work together to open the winter shelter.
Josh Spring, with the Coalition for the Homeless says the mission is simple: keep people from freezing to death. Every night, from early December, to the end of February, a meeting room at the Drop Inn Center, and the basement of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, are turned into sleeping quarters for people who have nowhere else to go. Spring says it's kept simple. There are mats for sleeping, heating, and clean bathroom facilities, but there isn't coffee or food. The shelter opens at 9pm and closes at 6am.
Spring says Thursday night, they had about 110 people spent the night.
The City of Cincinnati provides a bulk of the funding, but not enough to cover the $75,000 cost of keeping the shelters open for nearly three months. The rest comes from private donations. Spring says Duke Energy contributed $10,000, while church groups, and faith-based organizations raise the rest.
Spring says the winter shelter is run by paid staff, because finding volunteers for daily operations over three months is nearly impossible.