Homeless helped with food and supplies: 19,594 people

Calls for Help Are Increasing

Friday, September 2, 2022

Calls for help are increasing at the CAP Helpline.

Through the first six months of 2022, calls to the Central Access Point Helpline are increasing.

The Central Access Point (CAP) Helpline is a centralized emergency shelter helpline (513-381-SAFE) open 363 days a year. It is the number anyone experiencing or at-risk of homelessness in Hamilton County calls for entry into shelter or housing.

Additionally, Intake Specialists refer callers to other community assistance if needed. The CAP Helpline was one of the first helplines of it’s kind in the nation. And now calls for help are increasing.

Increase in Calls for Help

In 2021, 3,948 people called the CAP Helpline for assistance. And the number of families that called in 2021 was 1,692. Through the first six months of this year, 2,369 people called the CAP Helpline. And 1,126 families called to ask for help.

This means that the Helpline is on track to assist over 4,700 callers, including over 2,200 families, in 2022. This is after a significant increase in calls in 2021. In 2021 there was a 60% increase in the number of calls for help to the CAP Helpline over the prior year.

How We Responded

In order to accommodate this increase in callers, we’ve added staff and installed an improved digital call center platform. Therefore we can better track wait times and caller queues. And it enables automated call-backs, real-time displays, and other features. All with the goal of making calling CAP a less stressful and faster experience for our callers.

Poverty and Homelessness in Cincinnati

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2016-2020 Hamilton County residents, 14.8% of residents lived below the poverty line. And 21.9% of under age 18 did as well. The LISC Cincinnati’s “Housing Our Future” report states, “nearly half of Hamilton County’s 82,300 extremely low-income households are considered severely housing cost burdened.”

This means that they spend more than 50% of their income on rent. So this leaves very little else to cover other expenses or emergencies.

These households are likely to experience homelessness after a medical emergency or job loss. Or an economic downturn, like the one recently caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other Services CAP Provides

Our trained Intake Specialists assess if each caller needs shelter immediately. Or if a referral to services that prevent homelessness is appropriate.

If there is an opportunity to prevent homelessness, the caller is placed in the Strategies to End Homelessness Shelter Diversion program. Or they are referred to a partner agency for other homelessness prevention services. Including programming for youth, or Aftercare services for families who experienced homelessness in the past.

One of the most significant indicators of future homelessness is past homelessness. So Aftercare services help with different needs so families do not have to experience homelessness again.

Finally, the CAP Helpline supports the community’s street outreach efforts. In 2021, Strategies to End Homelessness re-released the Street Reach app. The app allows concerned citizens to report places where people are sleeping unsheltered.

When a person makes a report through the Street Reach app, that report comes directly to the CAP Helpline. Accordingly, staff dispatch street outreach workers to offer assistance.


The post Calls for Help Are Increasing appeared first on Strategies to End Homelessness.

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