The county's overflow emergency shelter remains open to fill the need of city's homeless population

CLEVELAND - It has been two months since Cuyahoga County opened an emergency overflow shelter for families in Cleveland.
 
It is called Haven Home. It is located on the campus of Elizabeth Baptist Church on the city's west side.

RELATED:The City Mission provides emergency overflow shelter for women, children
 
The need for the temporary emergency overflow shelter for women and children remains and has brought great improvements.
 
"One of our best changes over the last two months is now families can stay over the weekends and holidays," said Michael Sering, vice president of housing and shelter for Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry.
 
Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, along with Elizabeth Baptist Church, FrontLine Services, City Mission and Project Act, have all partnered and work together to make Haven Home possible.
 
Other improvements include bussing for children staying at Haven. They are now picked up and taken to their appropriate school and brought back as well.

RELATED: Numbers not going down at City Mission's emergency overflow shelter
 
Also, the families no longer sleep on the floor, regular meals are provided, women have access to a case manager, and there's a playroom for the kids. Sering said they plan to improve the playroom so it's split in half; one side for little kids and the other side for teens with age-appropriate activities.
 
"Haven will be open as long as there's a need for us," said Sering.
 
FrontLine is the organization that serves the newly homeless. They said the numbers have gone down slightly from the fall; averaging now about a dozen families a night. However, that's still higher than normal.
 
It means even the emergency overflow has overflowed. Sering said there's a gym on the campus of the church they can use. They put some mats down to accommodate the additional families.
 
"We've had to use it most nights, but with the numbers coming down, I'm thinking that part can probably be put on hold," he said.
 
It is all happening because the four family shelters in the city are full, and have been for more than a year.
 
Before Haven Home opened, the overflow families stayed on the gym floor of a local nonprofit so they'd at least have a safe place to sleep.
 
In times of darkness, Clevelanders have shined; volunteers have served meals, donated hygiene kits and baby care packages.
 
The need for those big hearts continues.
 
"So, whatever may be someone's talent or gift they'd like to share with the families, I definitely hope they'll contact me and we can make some arrangements for them," said Cindy Rios, Haven Home.
 
She said current volunteers are wonderful and they welcome more, along with donations as well.
 
Rios said right now, they are in need of baby hygiene kits. Things like: baby oil, baby powder, Desitin, baby fingernail clippers, and Pedialyte.
 
Haven Home addresses the urgent issue at hand, but outstanding needs remain.
 
The biggest challenge, and it's really for homeless providers in general, is to help people find safe, affordable housing," said Sering.
 
If you'd like to help, contact Rios at: cindy.thehaven@gmail.com or she said monetary donations can be mailed to 6114 Francis Ave., Cleveland, OH 44127. 
 

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