YWCA Crowded With Families In Need Trying To Escape The Cold


Overcrowding at one local shelter is impacting those in need.

The arctic blast led to such a demand for need that the YWCA is being forced to make some families sleep on cots or on shelter floors.

At capacity, 50 families are housed at the facility at 900 Harvey Court.

Now, that number is more than double which is forcing employees to get creative and ask the community for help.

Kerri Thompson and Anthony Boswell have been living in a room at the shelter with their two-year-old son Anthony Jr. for two weeks.

They recently moved to Columbus from Detroit to find better opportunities.

"Nobody wants to be in an environment like this. It's not a bad place to be, but as a father of a family, you don't want to be in a shelter. It's embarrassing to some people," said Boswell.

He says the shelter literally saved their lives though and helped them, not only find a job, but also a place they'll soon call home.

Their family is not alone. They're sharing shelter space with dozens of others.

The shelter only has 50 rooms, but 120 families staying there.

President and CEO Elfi Di Bella says the economy coupled with the recent frigid temperatures has pushed the shelter to the limit.

"The need is tremendous, and we're really busting at the seams," Di Bella said.

She says housing 70 extra families becomes extremely difficult, especially at night. The families have to be placed on cots in common areas.

“'It is tremendously stressful for a family to be here. Nobody wants to be here," she said.

But it's at the shelter, where she says families like Boswell's are given the opportunity to move forward.

Employees say all accommodations are made possible by the generous help of the community.

They're looking for things like gift cards, hygiene products and size large toddler pull-ups.

Donations can be made at the facility on Harvey Court.