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Thursday is the first night dozens of homeless mothers and children in Cleveland won't have to sleep on mats on a gym floor.
Haven Home opened Thursday evening. It is located on the campus of Elizabeth Baptist Church.
Cuyahoga County opened the temporary emergency overflow site because all the four family shelters in Cleveland are full, and have been for more than a year.
Thirteen months ago, The City Mission opened its gym so the families would at least have a safe place to sleep, but the numbers haven't gone down.
Haven Home will provide more comfortable accommodations and crucial services for the mothers and children.
Haven Home is not a 24/7 emergency overflow shelter. Officials tell me they were focused on the immediate need which was to provide a more comfortable space and services.
The women and children will be dropped off at the Cosgrove Center at 8 a.m. and will then be brought back to Haven Home in the early evening/late afternoon for dinner and to sleep.
There are showers and bathtubs available and a place where families can lock up their belongings.
The Haven Home will also stay open during the day on the weekends.
They are also working on getting a direct pick-up for school-age children.
The Cosgrove Center is where Coordinated Intake is located. It serves the newly homeless. Their offices are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the women and children can go there as well during those hours. They tell me there are two rooms for them to use, including a playroom for kids. They say no one should be forced to stay out in the cold weather or on the streets.
News 5 has been following this story for months. We spoke with the county about its plan to help families in crisis get out of shelters and into homes. In part, they use a HUD program called Rapid Rehousing. It’s a rent subsidy program. You can read more about it on our continuing coverage.