CLEVELAND — As we move deeper into the winter months and the financial fallout from the pandemic forces more people out of their homes, the demand for a warm, safe place to sleep is expected to spike. A Cleveland guesthouse that claims it's for everyone is now living up to its motto.
With leisure travel at a standstill, the Cleveland Hostel is putting its empty rooms and beds to good use.
“Pretty much since late March, early April, we have been working with a variety of homeless shelters to encourage decreasing their census," said Marcella Brown, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries.
With the pandemic prompting shelters to reduce their capacity to allow for social distancing, Brown said this new option in Ohio City is helping fill a critical void.
"It is very important that our community work together to create a plan,” said Brown.
This new partnership provides dozens of in demand beds.
"The Cleveland Hostel is somewhere around 30 people, so they're at about 50% of their capacity,” said Brown.
An important note for those in need of shelter—Cleveland Hostel is not accepting walk-up requests.
Every person will need to go through an in-take process.
"People hear things on the news and they just assume they can pop in and receive the services. We encourage people to go to frontline services so that they can be put into the process of securing that space and that we can assess their needs beyond just shelter," said Brown.
Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries will be able to take advantage of this additional space through the spring.
"The plan is to keep that shelter open until April 15,” said Brown.
As the pandemic rages on, Brown, along with other advocates for the homeless, say now is the time to tackle the underlying issue.
"The coronavirus did not necessarily create an eviction crisis. I think it elevated it. We need to figure out and work harder at finding affordable housing. So, that's going to require us to come together as a community and figure out longer-term and more innovative solutions."