How do I get into shelter?
If you need shelter now, call the Central Access Point (CAP) number at (513) 381-7233 (SAFE). You can also text CAP at 513-970-1515 during normal business hours to get information. Calling this number is the best way to get into shelter in Cincinnati.
Due to the volume of calls, there is often a wait time. A CAP worker will ask you some questions and then direct you to the family shelter in Cincinnati that is best for you. Due to high demand, shelters are often full. The CAP worker will work with you to find an alternative if shelter isn’t available.
Who do you help?
We serve families without homes in the Greater Cincinnati area. By families, we mean a parent, parents, or other guardian with children present. Unlike many other shelters, we serve fathers and teenage male children. Besides being homeless and a family with children, guests must not be using alcohol or abusing drugs, must not be committing domestic violence or be the recent victim of domestic violence because the perpetrator is likely to find them, and must not have been committed for a violent crime or crime against children. We do accept guests with other legal records, but this is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Is my family right for IHNGC?
When you call the CAP line, the worker will collect info and determine if you’re a good fit for our shelter. If so, you’ll be referred to us. You will come to shelter, where we will help you get settled and complete the intake paperwork. Our case manager will do an interview with you and make a plan to help you get on back into housing.
What is a normal day like at IHNGC?
Guests wake up at the congregation, with enough time to dress, eat, and get ready to board the bus at 6:30 a.m. to head back to the Day Center. Once at the Day Center, guests have time during the day to meet with the Case Manager to establish and work on a case plan. Working on the case plan may include attending a nutrition assistance or public benefits appointment, interviewing for a job, creating a résumé, taking children to daycare, and so on. All guests are expected to return back to the Day Center at 4 p.m. so that they can prepare their belongings and children for the night at the congregation.
Guests are also assigned chores to do in the Day Center, and that happens every day at 3:30 pm. At 5 pm, guests board the Interfaith Hospitality Network bus, and head out to the congregation for the evening. Once at the congregation, guests are greeted by volunteers at the congregation and settle in for dinner and evening activities. Each congregation differs in the activities they provide in the evening. Some congregations offer time for guests to relax and hang out, while others plan entertainment for guests. At bedtime, guests retire to their family’s private sleeping space for a good night’s sleep.
Isn’t it really difficult for families to move week to week?
Not really. While families enjoy their week stay at each congregation, they usually look forward to experiencing a new congregation. IHNGC volunteers are compassionate people who are there to provide meals, shelter, and caring support that makes families feel safe and welcomed.
How long do families stay in shelter?
That depends on how long it takes for them to find housing and whether or not they actively implement their case plans. Some families have stayed as long as three months, but the average length of stay is under a month.
Where do families go when they leave shelter?
Most guests move directly into homes of their own, either subsidized or market rate depending on their income and other qualifications. Others move in with family members while awaiting housing. Some leave shelter into an apartment with ongoing help through one of IHNGC’s housing programs. These programs, such as Rapid Rehousing, help families with rent and case management support for a few months or more as they work on getting employment, other income, job training, or other education.