There are 1800 people in congregate housing at this time in Cincinnati.
We are all being ordered to maintain social distance from one another and to stay in our homes, but this is simply not possible for people experiencing homelessness or living in congregant transitional housing. For hundreds of people in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, social distancing is not even possible when sleeping. For more than a week, dozens of service provider organizations have been tele-conferencing daily to plan and take action to get people in our shelters and congregant facilities out of direct danger. It has become clear that while COVID-19 is a threat to everyone, its threat is greater to people experiencing homelessness. We are attempting to prevent disaster within our shelters and congregant housing programs and reduce greater risk to our community as whole.
Speakers at Tuesday’s press conference will call on the general public and businesses to make funds available and to donate or discount hotel rooms and other private living quarters. We will call on universities and colleges to make student living quarters with private restrooms available. Speakers, representing many organizations, will call on our Cincinnati Mayor and City Council, Hamilton County Commissioners, local State of Ohio Representatives and Senators, the State Legislature, the Governor, our local federal Representatives and Senators, and Congress to immediately make significant funds available to pay for hotel rooms, assist with increasing staff overtime costs and staff shortages and to get individuals and families with children into housing. It is also necessary that these officials use all of their social and political leverage to secure hotel rooms, university and college dorms and other private living spaces.
Our organizations have been working non-stop to move people to the safety we have all been advised and ordered to go to, but without the immediate intervention of our elected officials and support from our community and businesses, we will lose people to this virus simply because they did not have a home of their own to go to.
5 Ways to Show Solidarity NOW
Service providers are working overtime. Our community immediately needs space for 212 of the highest-risk individuals, and an additional 1000 rooms in the next several days. We need our elected officials to leverage political and financial support to provide safe and stable space for individuals to shelter during this pandemic. It is time to look toward the universities and convince them to offer space.
You are a valuable voice, and you can create change:
1. Call and email the Office of the Mayor and tell him that he needs to leverage political and financial resources to provide space for individuals who are currently unable to practice social distancing.
Mayor John Cranley: firstname.lastname@example.org 513-352-3250
2. Email and call the City Council Members and tell them that as a community, we are tired of the lack of access to affordable housing and now during a pandemic, hundreds of lives are at high-risk because people have nowhere to go. Demand that the Mayor leverage his political authority to secure space for the individuals who are currently unable to practice social distancing.
To email all council members, send to CityCouncil@cincinnati-oh.gov
3. Call Governor Mike DeWine’s Office at 614-644-4357 and tell him that the City of Cincinnati is currently unable to secure space for members of our community who are experiencing homelessness, and that we need money to provide shelter for these individuals through the duration of this pandemic.
4. Ask your friends and family to call and email these elected officials with this urgent message.
5. Share the need on social media, using #1800Lives.
Donations for families can be done at Strategies to End Homelessness: https://www.strategiestoendhomelessness.org/donate/
Donations For individuals and be done through the United Way and Greater Cincinnati Foundation Fund: https://www.uwgc.org/give/ways-to-give/covid-19-regional-response-fund/