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Increase In Homeless Families In Tri-State

The Tri-State is seeing a huge increase in the number of families who are homeless.   And 30 percent of those who are homeless in Hamilton County are children.

Local 12's Paula Toti shares the faces behind the numbers and what's being done to break the cycle.

There are five agencies involved in the family housing partnership. They provide shelter to families that are homeless.  Here the YWCA is one of them.  Today they want people to know in July the number of families calling for help was up 31 percent.
Agencies dealing in homelessness say the economy has led to a growing number of even middle class families out on the street.  They say while the statistics look grim on the front end, on the back end they're helping families who enter shelter programs get on their feet so they don't return.

"It was hard, especially, for my four year old."

Hard for Shanae Foster, her boyfriend and their three children, living out of a car.

"For about two weeks, yea."

But here's the thing that might surprise people. The family had a place to rent until her boyfriend lost his job.  Shanae actually went out and got two jobs, but not fast enough to stop their eviction. The family eventually got help from the Bethany House, one of the agencies in the family housing partnership.  With the shelter full, they were put up in a hotel.  And when they transition out they'll get help paying rent.

Gwendellyn Green, Bethany House:
"We try to get them stable in six months. She will need a case worker each week, then about every two weeks."

And what I didn't mention, Shanae has already been getting budgeting and life skill classes and help finding a job.  She got one with better pay and benefits.

Shanae Foster, Helped By Bethany House:
"So now, before I was working seven days, now I'm able to go to work and spend time with my kids and Bethany House helped with parenting skills."

And the family won't be in the hotel much longer.

"Tomorrow I'm able to sign my lease, get keys and move in."

That's a huge life turn around in just a matter of weeks.   Of the five agencies in the partnership, they say once they've been involved with a family, only 15 percent return to homelessness within two years of leaving.  

There is just one number families need to call to access one of the five agencies.. 381-SAFE. 




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