COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Homeless shelters across central Ohio are experiencing their highest populations in years.
The Community Shelter Board, which runs seven shelters throughout central Ohio, took in more than 1,200 men, women, and children Tuesday
Most of those people stayed at the Van Buren Center, which is now overcapacity with approximately 700 people.
“Right now we are in the midst of what we call winter overflow season,” said YMCA Shelter Services Director of Operations Clarence Dade. “So traditionally, every year from November to March, shelter services, as a whole, not just the YMCA shelter but across the system as a whole, kind of expands, to try and meet the needs of the community, get everybody off the streets and into a warm place.”
The board said it is in desperate need of supplies such as coats, blankets, hygiene kits, and volunteers.
“It’s really, really hard to keep this kind of increased effort up over such a long period of time,” said Community Shelter Board Executive Director Michelle Heritage. “More than two years now, we’ve been functioning under these conditions, and it’s been very difficult.”
The Van Buren Center is also asking for more donations of coats and blankets.