Shelter board seeks help from community

As the temperatures drop, those who do not have shelter, seek it.

The Community Shelter Board (CSB) works to provide that shelter, but they need some help from the community. They are asking for donations of blankets, single bed linens and towels.

Each year, CSB and its partner agencies implement a "Winter Access" plan to meet increased demands of shelter and housing placement services. This year the demand for emergency shelter is expected to rise.

"The number of people seeking shelter increases every winter," said CSB Director of Programs Tom Albanese. "The weather plays a big factor and people just want to get out of the cold."

Franklin County keeps track of the homeless population two ways. Albanese explained that one is a day count and the other is an annual number. He said that on any given day of the year, there are 1,244 adults and children who are without shelter. Their count took place one day in January 2007. Annually, there are approximately 7,000 people without homes.

"We have seen a gradual increase overall but have noticed an increase in homeless single women," Albanese said.

CSB and partner agencies have assessed the capacity of shelters and come up with a plan to accommodate the anticipated winter overflow. They admit that they cannot do it alone.

They are asking the people of Franklin County to donate any clean, gently used or new linens, blankets and towels to local organizations for distribution. Monetary donations are also accepted.

If you would like to donate, contact Faith Mission at 224,6617, Friends of the Homeless at 253-2770, Homeless Families Foundation at 461-9247, Maryhaven at 449-1530, Volunteers of America at 849-0145, YMCA of Central Ohio at 224-1131 or YMCA of Columbus at 253-3910.

The CSB is a non-profit intermediary organization that coordinates community based efforts and funds services to assist families and individuals in central Ohio to resolve their housing crisis. The organization allocates over $9 million annually to support homeless programs and services. In 2006, these programs served more that 7,400 individuals. CBS is funded by the City of Columbus, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, the United Way of Central Ohio, The Columbus Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the State of Ohio, and other public and private donors.

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