In June of 2021, the City of Akron announced it would reinstate its pre-pandemic policy of clearing homeless encampments on city property. CSS’s teams from Homeless Outreach stepped in to help those who would be displaced, and thanks to a new program, they were able to provide housing for dozens of them.
The “Tent to House” program, which is funded through the City of Akron, helps bridge the gap between living on the streets and obtaining appropriate housing. Those who are interested in working with outreach staff are temporarily housed in a facility on Voris Street, adjacent to the emergency overnight shelter (EOS), while they await their acceptance into permanent housing.
Since this past summer, outreach staff has encountered 56 people living in the encampments, the majority of whom have been interested in CSS’s help. Those seeking housing engaged with outreach staff, discussed their goals, and worked with them to create a housing plan. To date, outreach staff has found housing for 40 of the individuals – the majority of those encountered.
Some of those who have obtained housing were reached through the emergency overnight shelter. The EOS, which was maintained by the outreach staff, was open on any night the temperature dropped below 15 degrees. This winter was especially brutal. The EOS first opened for the season on Jan. 2 and had been open eight times in the first 11 days of 2022. Last year, the center didn’t open for the first time until Jan. 28.
This season, the shelter was open 40 nights and hosted 225 unique individuals for 1,328 overnight stays. A total of 2,830 meals were provided, and about 1,400 lunches were distributed. Additionally, $3,500 worth of bus passes were given to guests as they left the EOS in the morning.
The shelter was first made available in the winter of 2021 and has been operated for the past two winters through a partnership between CSS, The Peter Maurin Center, and Summit County Continuum of Care.