The Eaton Planning Board’s decision to close the Preble County Homeless Shelter on April 11 came as a surprise to Community Action Partnership in Preble County, which operates the facility. Located at 131 North Beech Street, the shelter is the only one of its kind in Preble County.
The Planning Board cited a number of incidents and police reports that were filed for events in and around the shelter. According to Rita Daily, Community Action Partnership Preble County Director, the agency was not made of aware of complaints local residents may have had.
“The police department always encouraged us to report any incidents to them, whether or not they led to an arrest,” Daily said. “We would be correctly criticized if we did not report suspicious incidents to the police. However, we are also being criticized for reporting incidents to the police. It doesn’t seem fair.”
Individuals may stay at the shelter for up to 14 days. Families may stay for 30 days. During that time, they are required to seek work and/or permanent housing during the day. Community Action Partnership also works with shelter residents to improve their job-seeking skills and refer them to other services they may need.
“It’s true that homeless persons often have problems beyond homelessness” Daily said. “Our program tries to help them through those problems. Where will they go now?”
Since 2009, more than 200 people have spent more than 7,000 nights at the shelter. Individuals, single-parent families and two-parent families have used the shelter. During 2012, 90 children stayed at the facility.
“We want to be good neighbors and we will listen to anyone who has constructive suggestions on how we can improve our program,” Daily said. “But shutting down a shelter that has helped so many is wrong. Fortunately, many people in the county have stepped forward to support the shelter.”
CAP is inviting the community to an Open House at the shelter on Thursday, April 4, from 4 to 6 p.m.