Poll reflects growing anxiety about becoming homeless

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In the poll, nearly one-third of those surveyed said they worried about becoming homeless in the future.

The head of the Community Shelter Board, Barbara Poppe, expressed little surprise about the numbers. She says last night more than one-thousand people showed up at emergency shelters in Columbus and Franklin County including more than 250 children. And, she expects at least as many tonight and possibly more in the coming months.

“These folks, generally were before they were in shelters were staying in doubled up situations with families and friends. The concern about the increasing numbers of folks at risk of homelessness is in part due to the foreclosure crisis and that many of the families who were struggling to make the mortgage payment have taken in family or friends as a way to help meet ends,” Poppe said.

Poppe says temporary homelessness is nearly always connected to the loss of a job or divorce, or another financial emergency such as a large medical bill. Poppe says so far, the shelter board has met the demand for emergency beds.

“Our partner shelters are operating at or close to capacity. They are doing their very best to expand the walls and to assure that everyone has a place to stay tonight,” Poppe said.

Poppe says the Community Shelter Board has an annual operating budget of ten million dollars. She says more than 90 percent of that money is spent in the community for on programs.

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