On Thursday, January 15, 2015, the Clinton County Services for the Homeless Board of Trustees held their annual meeting. The 2015 Board of Trustees members are Billie Baker, Sharon Benning, Timi Callender, Tim Davis, Dan Mayo, Molly Dullea, Nancy McCormick, Todd Reed and Jeanne Smith. The shelter’s Executive Director Denise Stryker presented the annual report and the board elected officers for 2015.
The elected 2015 officers include:
President - Sharon Benning
Vice President - Nancy McCormick
Secretary - Dan Mayo
Assistant Secretary - Tim Davis
Treasurer - Billie Baker
Assistant - Treasurer Jeanne Smith
In 1988, the Clinton County Services for the Homeless, “the Shelter” opened its doors and became the first emergency shelter in a rural Ohio community. The Clinton County community has faced many challenges in the intervening twenty-six years, but its support of the Shelter has remained constant. That ongoing support has enabled the Shelter to continue its mission of providing emergency shelter, compassionate care and support to the homeless and underprivileged while remembering each resident is a person of worth.
While job opportunities in Clinton County continued to improve in 2014, the challenge of finding full time sustainable employment that can support an individual and/or family is challenging for those who have become homeless. Loss of transportation, lack of affordable childcare, separation from a spouse, illness, and injuries are among some of the many hardships that the homeless experience. Those whom the Shelter served not only received a temporary place to stay, but also encouragement and access to the basic tools needed to help them regain their independence and dignity.
The Shelter’s ability to help those in need depends on funding from various sources. The homeless crisis response program grant (“HCRP”) was a major source of support for the Shelter in 2014. The goal of the HCRP is to prevent individuals and families from experiencing homelessness and, when homelessness does occur, rapidly move them from emergency shelter into permanent housing. The funding from the grant enabled the Shelter to find homes for seventeen households during the last year. The program also allowed the Shelter to keep in their homes two households who were at risk of becoming homeless. HCRP funding from the Ohio Development Services Agency also provided funding for operating expenses for the Shelter in 2014. Mental Health and Recovery Services of Warren and Clinton Counties provided a 2014 fiscal year grant to the Shelter. This grant allowed the Shelter to provide essential services to those Shelter residents who were in recovery. In 2014, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency approved the Shelter’s application for funding for a grant under the Capital Funding to End Homelessness Initiative (CFEHI). The grant will enable the Shelter to provide much needed repairs and improvements to its facilities. The renovations, which are scheduled to begin in 2015, include remodeling of the kitchen at the women and children’s home, replacing beds and mattresses at both houses, and building a fence around all properties of the Shelter to provide additional safety and protections for the residents’ children.
While grants from governmental sources provide stability to its work, the Shelter could not operate without the amazing support it receives from the local community. The Wilmington Ministerial Association continues to support the Shelter along with numerous local Churches, local businesses, service organizations and individuals. The Shelter also benefited from community giving through funds awarded by the United Way in 2014.
Hard working volunteers from the community have also helped the Shelter make a success of various fundraising efforts held throughout the year. The Board of Realtors sponsored the Day of Caring pancake breakfast held each year in February at the Wilmington Friends Meeting. The Wilmington AM Rotary Club works tirelessly in organizing and sponsoring the Cardboard City event held annually in September. This year’s event included some new activities and benefited from increased participation. The Shelter looks forward to continuing that positive momentum as Cardboard City moves to a new location at the Clinton County Court House on September 19, 2015. The staff and board members of the Shelter, with help from many others, held its soup fundraiser in March and December 2014. In February 2014, Royal Z Lanes’ employees worked with staff and board members of the Shelter to organize the first annual bowling fundraiser and in July 2014, the FOE Eagles Wilmington hosted the first annual poker run and raffle with all proceeds benefiting the Shelter.
In 2014, the Shelter continued collaboration with the Cincinnati Food Bank in conjunction with the local Walmart store and the Feed America Program. A former staff member, who is now a dedicated volunteer, and a current board member organized efforts to pick-up the donated food and distribute it to the Shelter as well as other local organizations that help feed those in need. In 2014, 3,974 people benefited from the Shelter’s food pantry with assistance from the Feed America Program.
In the summer of 2014, the Shelter hosted three Open Houses. The Open Houses provided an opportunity for the community to see the facilities of the Shelter as well as to learn about the many services it provides.
Nine members of the Shelter’s Board of Trustees met monthly to oversee the operations of the Shelter and volunteered numerous hours to its operation. The Shelter employs three full-time and six part-time staff members covering shifts 24 hours seven days a week. In addition, previous and current residents of the Shelter “pay it forward” by sharing their time and talents to volunteer at fundraising events, to help maintain Shelter property, and to lend a hand wherever needed. In 2014, we provided a home for 226 people, including 48 children. The number of two parent families and two parent couples without children staying at the Shelter increased slightly from last year. Residents spent 7,315 total nights at the Shelter. During their stay, residents received a total of 36,570 meals and snacks. Clinton County is a wonderful place to live and work and the Shelter board and staff thank each of you for your continued support. With the help of this remarkable community, the Clinton County Homeless Shelter will continue to work hard to assist those in need of emergency shelter and other essential services.