LIMA — The West Ohio Community Action Partnership working together with the United Way of Greater Lima and Lima Rotary Club is taking “no excuses” when it comes to helping the local homeless population.
As the name of newly-rolled out campaign, “No Excuses — 24/7 Commitment to Help our Homeless” was created to bridge the gap between the needs of homeless individuals and the services of community partners by pushing the use of the county’s “211” system — a 24-hour phone line that can help someone in an emergency find a safe bed for the night.
“This is really what United Way is about — to reach across the community and solve problems — and homelessness is a problem,” United Way of Greater Lima President Carol Braden-Clarke.
WOCAP Community Services Director Marva Cowan said the county has seen an increase in the housing problems associated with multiple-family households. For these individuals or families, because of their tenuous situations, an emergency might put them on the streets. That’s when “211” can help.
Although the 211 system has been around for more than a few years, individuals who need immediate assistance particularly on weekends or after hours often don’t know where to turn. By creating more community awareness of the service, the program should help curb that difficulty while centralizing the information someone may need when facing a housing emergency.
“This one number — 211 — is all you need to remember. Trained operators will take your call and connect you with the services you need. It’s really that simple,” WOCAP CEO Jackie Fox said.
When an individual calls 211, they will be connected to a 24/7 call center manned by professionals who have been trained to connect the caller with the correct community social service.
While many homeless individuals are sent to stay at a local shelters, an individual may be sent to house at a local hotel if shelters are full. Funds for these services are being provided through a $15,000 grant given to WOCAP by the Lima Rotary Club. So far, roughly half of those funds have been spent on providing services to homeless individuals and families in the area, and Fox estimates the discretionary funds should be enough to last another six months.
To plan for the eventual exhaustion of those funds, the program is currently looking for donations from other social groups or online contributors.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.