The Clinton County Coalition on Homelessness (CCCH) will hold a community forum Monday, Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. The event, which will be held in the Moyer Community Room at the Wilmington Municipal Building, will provide an update on ongoing coordinated efforts to respond to homelessness in Clinton County.
“The Coalition has provided critical space for our community to coordinate efforts to tackle homelessness,” said Pastor Joel Richter of Faith Lutheran Church in Wilmington, who serves as the Coalition chairperson. “The good news is the plan we’ve developed is already being implemented in several ways.”
Stemming from the Coalition’s initial assessment and community plan, new tracking and coordinated approaches were initiated by Hope House, Sugartree Ministries, and Clinton County Services for the Homeless (CCSH) in 2022. Needs identified by the Coalition also helped secure new funding, with CCSH obtaining more than $33,000 to hire a new full-time access point coordinator to provide immediate resource assistance to individuals at the shelters, according to a news release.
Established in January 2021, the Coalition was designed to promote and support a county collaborative of stakeholders who work together to reduce and prevent homelessness.
Members of the coalition include representatives from the City of Wilmington, Wilmington Police Department, Clinton County Board of Commissioners, Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, Clinton County Homeless Shelter, Talbert House, Village of Sabina, Clinton County Youth Council, Clinton County Job and Family Services, Hope House, Sugartree Ministries, Clinton Massie School District, Mental Health Recovery Board Serving Warren and Clinton Counties, and multiple other agencies and faith-based organizations.
The coalition has met regularly since January 2021 to develop and implement a data-driven response to homelessness in the county and, in January 2022, officially launched a new coordinated community plan to prevent and reduce homelessness. Four committees now actively meet to strategize in the categories of prevention, temporary housing, rehousing, and service and resource supports.
Assessment and planning efforts were led by consultant Tom Albanese, a nationally-recognized expert in rural and urban responses to homelessness based in Columbus. Albanese, along with Wilmington College student volunteers, conducted interviews with people experiencing homelessness or housing instability in Clinton County, examined administrative data available from Clinton County Services for the Homeless and recent “point-in-time” count data, and gathered other information from local service providers. Students from Wilmington College assisted with researching issues related to rural housing needs, homelessness, and potential solutions.
The assessment revealed that annually an overall total of 475 adults and children in 372 households experience literal homelessness each year in Clinton County and need emergency shelter and rehousing assistance. Of these, an estimated 155 adults and children in 98 households will experience at least one night of unsheltered homelessness in the county.
The coalition’s plan includes expanding and further coordinating prevention efforts with local law enforcement and service partners, expanding landlord partnerships and rehousing assistance, and increasing transitional and ongoing housing assistance options, among other strategies. For example, Clinton Massie Local Schools and Talbert House collaborated to provide a Resource Navigator to serve families and high schools students who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless.
“This is a long-term approach which began with assessing the needs and resources in this community,” said Taylor Stuckert, executive director of the Clinton County Planning Commission, and a founding member of CCCH. “Community members and elected officials initially came together in 2019 to examine ways to address homelessness. This led to us forming the Coalition, so we have a way to coordinate our efforts, provide effective supports, and get better results. The Coalition is not a fixed group, we encourage all who are wanting and willing to help address this difficult challenge to pull up a seat at the table.”
Additional information about CCCH, including links to Homeward, CCCH’s coordinated community plan, can be found at: https://sites.google.com/a/clintoncountyhomelessshelter.org/cchs/home/clinton-county-coalition
The Clinton County Homeless Coalition holds quarterly meetings that are open to the public and has four committees meeting in addition to this. For more information on the coalition, please contact Sydney Murtland, Clinton County Services for the Homeless, at [email protected]