Winter crisis program faces a funding crisis - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Winter crisis program faces a funding crisis

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It's almost the end of the line for a program that gives the city's homeless a warm bed during the coldest time of the year, but you have a chance to help keep the winter crisis program up and running at St. Paul's Community Center.

The good news is late Thursday afternoon the emergency shelter at St. Paul's Community Center received a big donation that will keep the doors open through the end of this month, but they still have a lot of money to raise to keep the shelter up and running all winter.

Every day they serve lunch to hundreds of people here at St. Paul's Community Center. During the winter months, homeless men and women can spend the night at the center's 50 bed emergency shelter.

The shelter shuts down when the money runs out and that's usually the end of March, but this year there were more people who needed help. So even with today's donation, unless more donations come in,  the shelter will only be open through the end of February.

Joe Habib is the Director of Residential Services at St. Paul's, "People can come in get and out of the cold, get a nice hot meal, stay the night and be safe. We have a deputy here to keep everyone safe. We also have shower facilities so they can clean up."

More than 900 people stayed at the emergency shelter last month, an increase from the same time last year. Although the need for help has gone up, the donations have not. Today the Lucas County Economic Development Corporation in conjunction with the Lucas County Board of Commissioners made an emergency donation of $13,000. That money will cover expenses for the next two weeks.

It will take another $26,000 to keep the shelter open through March. Without the emergency shelter, many will be forced back into unsafe and cold places, "What happens to these people when you are out of money, where do they go? That's the heartbreaking part. They go back to abandoned houses, the abandoned cars, the benches, the dumpsters, the street, wherever they can."

Habib says every donation helps keep people off the streets, "Every single penny helps every single penny will make a difference in someone's life."

St. Paul's lunch program is not affected by the lack of funding for the emergency shelter. They serve about 111,000 meals a year. While a number of organizations have donated to the winter crisis program, they also rely heavily on private donations.

Visit stpaulscommunitycenter.org for more information.

 

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