WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Homeless Shelter provided a home for 148 people — including 25 children — in 2021 and residents spent 6,361 total nights at the Shelter.
During their stay, residents received a total of 31,805 meals and snacks, according to a news release from the Shelter.
Also in 2021, 276 Clinton County households received help from the Shelter food pantry with aid from the Feed America Program and donations from individuals, churches, families, and businesses. Three days a week, volunteers deliver food from the Feed America Program to churches in surrounding villages in Clinton County.
The numbers of residents helped were shared by Executive Director Denise Stryker in her report at the Clinton County Homeless Shelter annual board meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, January 26.
Board members for 2022 include Robyn Allen, Billie Baker, Becky Boris, Bill Davis, Pam George, Dan Mayo, Nancy McCormick, Renee Quallen, and Barbara Saville.
Election of officers approved for 2022 are: President Dan Mayo; Vice President Bill Davis; Secretary Becky Boris; Treasurer Billie Baker; Assistant Treasurer Pam George; and Assistant Secretary Barb Saville.
In 1988, the Clinton County Services for the Homeless, “The Shelter”, opened its doors and became the first emergency shelter in a rural Ohio community.
“For more than 33 years, the support of our Clinton County community has enabled the Shelter to continue its mission of providing emergency shelter, compassionate care and support to the homeless and underprivileged while remembering each resident is a person of worth,” stated Stryker.
In 2021, the Board of Directors, staff and those living at the Shelter, continued following the guidelines and safety precautions established at the beginning of the pandemic to help keep those working and living at the Shelter safe. These included limiting the number of residents to follow social distancing recommendations and keeping all communal area locations stocked with masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning products, said Stryker.
“I am grateful for the compassion and commitment of each board member, staff member and resident of the Shelter for their dedication and support of the work we are doing at the Clinton County Homeless Shelter,” Stryker said.
“For those facing and experiencing homelessness during these unprecedented times, staying safe and healthy, keeping a positive outlook to find full-time sustainable employment that can support an individual and/or household is more challenging than usual. Those who are suffering from an addiction and/or mental health illness, being homeless or living in congregate locations are vulnerable and at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Additionally, loss of transportation, lack of affordable childcare, separation from a spouse, and illness/injuries are among some of the many other hardships that the homeless have,” said Stryker.
“Each year, it is heartwarming to see the outpouring of support from those living at the Shelter. This year was no exception with those living at the Shelter “paying it forward” and offering their support to answer phones, sort donations, help another resident with chores, offering their help for the staff and others living at the Shelter in need of encouragement or a smile. These acts of kindness give us hope and inspiration every day, and I am forever grateful for the lessons learned.”
In 2021, the Clinton County Board of Realtors held its annual Day of Caring Pancake Breakfast in May; the fundraiser is usually held each February. The May event was quite successful, and we are looking forward to a spring pancake fundraiser again this year, said Stryker.
Shelter staff and board members organized a Drive-through Soup Fundraiser held in fall 2021. “The turnout was great, and we were able to see many of our soup fundraiser supporters who drove through for delicious homemade soups prepared by our phenomenal volunteers!” said Stryker.
The Wilmington Area Ministerial Association continues to support the Shelter along with local churches, businesses, service organizations and individuals. The Shelter also received help from community giving through funds awarded by the Clinton County United Way in 2021.
The Shelter continued collaboration with the Cincinnati Food Bank in conjunction with the local Walmart store and the Feed America Program in 2021. Volunteers organize efforts to pick up the donated food and distribute it to the Shelter as well as other local organizations that help feed those in need.
The Shelter’s ability to help those in need depends on funding from various sources. The Ohio Development Services Agency Homeless Crisis Response Program (HCRP) emergency shelter grant supplies operating funds for the Shelter.
Additionally, the Shelter collaborates with four surrounding counties operating as region 16 and receives funds from the Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) Grant. The goal of HPRP is to rapidly move families from emergency shelter into permanent housing. Mental Health and Recovery Services of Warren and Clinton Counties provided a 2021 fiscal year grant to the Shelter.
This grant allowed the Shelter to provide essential services to those Shelter residents who were in recovery.
In 2021, more funding sources were made available from the Homeless Crisis Response Program Cares grant to cover operating expenses, PPE, homeless prevention, and off-site housing.
The Clinton County Homeless Shelter accepted the admin role in the Clinton County Coalition on Homelessness, established in January 2021.
A professional consultant was hired to help establish the Coalition and a coordinated community plan to prevent and end homelessness in Clinton County. The Coalition includes more than 70 members that meet quarterly and a steering committee that met bi-monthly in 2021.
The Coalition approved the Coordinated Community Strategic Plan to prevent and end homelessness at their October 2021 quarterly meeting.
Four Coalition work groups including temporary housing, service resources, prevention, and rehousing meet regularly and are using the Coordinated Community Plan to help those in our community who are experiencing homelessness and a housing crisis. Funding for the project was provided by the City of Wilmington, Clinton County Foundation-Legacy Funds and Health First.
‘Pay it forward’
The Shelter’s nine volunteer board members held meetings via zoom each month to oversee operations and make important decisions on behalf of those we serve. The Shelter employs five full-time and three part-time staff members.
In addition, previous and current residents of the Shelter “pay it forward” by sharing their time and talents to volunteer at fundraising events, to help maintain Shelter property, and to lend a hand wherever needed.
Clinton County is a wonderful place to live and work. The Shelter board and staff thank each of you for your continued support!
Please call 937-382-7058 or email [email protected] if you would like more information about the shelter. We hope you will like us on Facebook at Clinton County Homeless Shelter “A Place to Call Home.”