The pandemic brought many unknowns for the YMCA’s Shelter Services staff. According to Shameikia Smith, the program’s executive director, her employees were concerned for the future of the people they served, as well as the future of the organization. Despite their worries, they sprung into action immediately, setting up five temporary shelters where guests were safe and comfortable.
When the pandemic first hit, Michelle Heritage, the Executive Director of the Community Shelter Board, saw the community come together immediately, working diligently to make sure the most vulnerable people were kept safe and alive. More than 2,000 evictions have been filed in our community since COVID began, and a recent study estimates central Ohio might see as much as a 45% increase in homelessness over the next year due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Despite fears of what the future may bring, Michelle is confident the community will pull together to care for their neighbors. Everyone can do something, she says.