January 18, 2021, COLUMBUS (OH) – For the homeless in America, staying warm during the winter months, and uninfected during the COVID-19 pandemic, is a double challenge to their survival.
In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Community of Caring Development Foundation, in collaboration with the OSU Wexner Medical Center STAR Trauma Recovery Center, will deliver care kits and highly innovative “sleeping bag” coats to homeless men at the YMCA of
Central Ohio and Men’s Shelter on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. The weather-resistant coat, packaged as an over-the-shoulder bag, can transform into a sleeping bag or a coat. The care kits from New Salem Baptist Church’s Bread of Life Food Pantry and other sources will include food, personal items, masks, sanitizers, and more.
“We are seeing an uptick in homelessness and despair as more are affected by the pandemic and its economic and mental health toll on our community,’ said Adam Troy, CEO, Community of Caring Development Foundation in Columbus, Ohio, the economic arm of New Salem Baptist Church. The donation targets men who are leaving the shelter and prefer to stay on the streets. “We must be smarter and lean on innovation and technology to find ways to improve lives and support our people in need.”
Sixty percent of all people experiencing homelessness are male. As of January 2019, Ohio had an estimated 10,345 experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). According to HUD, prior to the pandemic, Franklin County’s homeless population had increased 6% over the year to 1,900, 18% higher than five years ago. But the pandemic is putting a new strain on homeless services systems.
“The Men’s Shelter, operated by the YMCA of Central Ohio, is proud to serve over 200 men experiencing a housing crisis,” says Tiffany Hale, Director of Social Innovation, YMCA of Central Ohio, Van Buren Center. “The Y believes in serving with dignity, compassion, and respect and we believe that providing our men access to coats that transform into sleeping bags will be preparing our guests for any stage of their homelessness journey. Our guests are the experts of their own lives, and we are committed to supporting them in their process.”
The YMCA of Central Ohio’s shelter services for adult men offers the assistance and support needed to stabilize and maintain independent housing while providing access to those support services needed to achieve the highest possible standard of living.