The childhood poverty rate in Hamilton County is 47% according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Two thirds of these children in poverty live in female headed households. The Greater Cincinnati region is 40,000 units short of affordable housing for extremely poor families and ranks number 10 in the country for evictions.
Out of a sense of wanting to address the profound need for safe transitional housing options for families experiencing poverty, in 2013 the founders of Lydia’s House established a small residence for homeless women and their children. At capacity, Lydia’s House houses four women and up to six of their children. It also has up to two live-in volunteers and a generous pool of off-site volunteers. It includes not just a staffed house but also shared meals, provision of basic necessities like clothing and toiletries, assistance with transportation, accompaniment to appointments, court dates or hearings, facilitated referrals to outside service providers, and an overall sense of respect and encouragement to the residents who are working to establish themselves as agents capable of successful self-management.