About the Heart of Ohio Homeless Shelter
Heart of Ohio Homeless Shelter is a private non-profit agency that operates two distinct emergency homeless shelters in Marion, Ohio. Our primary geographical service areas include Crawford, Delaware, Marion, Morrow, Union, and Wyandot counties. The goal of our program is to help those who are homeless become self-sufficient. Residents participate in a process to accomplish this goal.
With support from our communities, we compassionately address the needs of homeless individuals and families by providing safe shelter, basic necessities and a structured opportunity to regain self-sufficiency.
Our Name, Our Goal
Known for years as the Marion Shelter Program, we are now the Heart of Ohio Homeless Shelter, which reflects our six-county service area, as well as our mission of compassionately assisting each in their Journey toward self-efficiency.
The Shelter’s History
In the 1980’s, Reverend Ted L. Blumenstein of the Marion St. Paul Episcopal Church decided to tackle the problem of homelessness in Marion County. Through his church, he organized a weekly “soup kitchen” and provided limited housing for those who found themselves homeless on cold Ohio nights. He realized that the need was larger than most had anticipated, and, as a result, with community support, the first homeless shelter was formed at 365 E. Fairground St., Marion, now the site of the Heart of Ohio Men’s Homeless Shelter.
In 1988, the Marion Shelter Program, Inc. was incorporated. With a growing number of individuals entering the shelter, the Board of Trustees hired its first non-resident employee in 1993 and began to develop more structured programs.
In 1996, the Marion Shelter Program became a member agency of the United Way of Marion County. Today, the Heart of Ohio Homeless Shelter partners and collaborates with a variety of agencies and organizations throughout the six-county region to compassionately serve homeless individuals and families, working toward self-sufficiency.
What We Do
The Heart of Ohio Homeless Shelter operates two distinct facilities with one housing men and the other single women and families. The Men’s shelter can accommodate 19 whereas the Women and Family shelter houses up to 29. Prior to entry, all adult residents must participate in a criminal background check. The only individuals that we cannot serve are those who possess a violent felony conviction or sexual crime conviction. Residents are provided a warm bed, food, basic necessities, and a structured opportunity to become self-sufficient. We require all residents to be sober, stay physically clean, complete staff assigned chores along with seeking employment and once employed, maintain employment. In addition to these requirements, all residents are provided structured case management along with requiring those with income to participate in our budgeting and savings program. With this budgeting and savings program, our residents do not leave the shelter empty-handed and most have the ability to put money down on an apartment or a sleeping room by the time they are ready to exit. Our Program is far from what most people expect of a homeless shelter.