As Winter Cold Sets In, Waiting Lists Grow For Central Ohio Shelters


UPDATED: Tuesday December 11, 2012 5:55 AM

Cold nights mean packed shelters across central Ohio.

This year, the need for a warm place to sleep will be even greater, but space is limited.

Waiting lists for Columbus shelters continued to grow as the winter cold crept through December nights.

The Community Shelter Board members said that they expected to see more people at shelter doors, especially women.

Board members said that 17 percent more women will be looking for shelter compared to last year. Officials blame the increase in need on the downturn in the economy.

“One of the causes could be the end of people’s unemployment benefits,” Said Michelle Heritage, of the Community Shelter Board. “For single adults in our community, there’s not a lot of other benefits that are available to them.”

The board is working to open an overflow shelter lasting from December through March. So far the effort is facing some community opposition and a lawsuit, making it unclear when it would open.

In Licking County, federal funds were helping shelter programs running through winter.

ThisWeek Community Newspapers reported that the Emergency Food and Shelter program received nearly $65,000. The money will be distributed to shelters across the county.

The program director said that the money would help provide for those in need throughout the cold winter months.

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