Columbus, the capital city of Ohio, has a history of social services to provide for low- and no-income residents. The city has many neighborhoods below the poverty line, and has experienced a rise in homelessness in recent decades. Social services include cash- and housing-related assistance, case management, treatment for mental health and substance abuse, and legal and budget/credit assistance.
Amid food insecurity in Columbus, with several neighborhoods as food deserts, nonprofit organizations operate several no-charge groceries, pharmacies, and stores in the city.
Social services have existed in Columbus since the 1830s. In decades prior, it was stated that the population was low enough that neighbors and townspeople could help each other overcome hardships.A cholera pandemic, which hit Columbus in 1832, drew attention to poor, sick, and displaced residents, many of whom were affected by the impacts of the disease.
The first organized charity was the Columbus Female Benevolent Society, formed in 1835 to give clothing and monetary donations to families in need. It was co-founded by Hannah Neil, who went on to establish a day school for poor children in 1855, and established it as the Industrial School Association in 1858. In 1865, the first homeless shelter was established, a former soldier's home. There were more applications than there was room, and so the Neville Mansion was converted to become the Hannah Neil Mission and Home for the Friendless in 1868. The shelter also acted as an emergency shelter, until support could be offered elsewhere.
Redevelopment and gentrification has displaced low income and homeless residents of Franklinton, the Short North, and other neighborhoods in Columbus. Redevelopments in 1997 displaced homeless residents of the Scioto Peninsula, and forced the closure of a shelter and relocation of another. The nonprofit Community Shelter Board established the Scioto Peninsula Relocation Task Force to find stable housing and support services for these displaced residents.
Although national homeless rates for families declined by about 32 percent in the 2010s, Columbus experienced an increase of 20 percent. In 2019, the area shelter system reached its highest-ever occupancy rate, with 570 people served. The Columbus Dispatch attributed the rise to increasing rents outpacing wages, low vacancies allowing landlords to be selective, the city's growing population, low funding for re-housing, and limited affordable housing options.In 2018, emergency shelters in the county served about 9,200 adults and children, and a one-night count in January 2019 estimated 1,907 people either in shelters or on the streets. In 2019, the Dispatch reported on the city's policy of dismantling homeless camps, displacing its residents without a plan to re-house them. The city recognized problems in some of the camps, including the danger of propane tanks across the area, as well as a murder taking place in one of the camps in April 2016.
Homeless shelters include the YWCA Family Center, Faith Mission's Emergency Shelter for Men, Rebecca's Place Women's Homeless Shelter, the Open Shelter, Friends of the Homeless Men's Shelter, Haven of Hope House, and Huckleberry House Emergency Overnight Shelter.The YMCA of Central Ohio also provides shelter to the homeless and those at risk of homelessness. The organization maintains three shelters: the Downtown YMCA, Franklin Station, and the Van Buren Center. In March 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Shelter Board and YMCA together created a new homeless shelter for those who have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. The shelter, known as the Shelter for Isolation and Quarantine, is in a North Side hotel. At its peak, the shelter housed 39 people.
Columbus is one of only about six places in the United States that guarantee a right to shelter for families. The list also includes New York City, the state of Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. (though only during hypothermic or hyperthermic conditions).
The first public housing project in Columbus opened in 1940. Poindexter Village, established in the present-day King-Lincoln Bronzeville neighborhood, was also one of the first public housing projects in the United States. The development was successful in keeping families out of homelessness and poverty until the late 20th century, when it declined and was later mostly demolished.
The Community Shelter Board began its homelessness prevention initiative in the late 1980s in response to growing demands for emergency shelter. The organization collaborates with government, corporate, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations to pool resources together. It determines individuals eligible by having a household income of 50 percent or lower than the Area Median Income, by having a steady and verifiable income, with housing costs of 50 percent or less of the family income, or 45 percent or less of the individual's income. The requirements are high enough that it can result in shelters being unduly used by individuals with significant economic, social, or psychological obstacles.
For homelessness prevention, the Community Shelter Board offers cash assistance (e.g. for rent, food, utilities, gasoline), housing-related assistance (e.g. maintenance, search support, relocation, mortgage assistance), case management (for employment or support with mental health or in domestic violence or substance abuse), offers treatment for mental health and substance abuse, and offers legal and budget/credit assistance.
Since 2008, the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless has produced Street Speech, the only street newspaper in the city. The paper is sold and written by and for those experiencing or who were once experiencing homelessness. The vendors are vetted, trained, and licensed to dispense the papers. The newspaper raises awareness about homelessness, brings in revenue for the street vendors, and provides useful information for those in need. All earnings are donations kept by the vendor.
Goods for parents, including clothing and baby diapers, are provided free at the Little Bottoms Free Store in Franklinton.
Since 1999, the Engagement Center at Maryhaven has treated people with drug and alcohol dependencies through its emergency shelter. The center also established 50 beds for crisis stabilization services. Maryhaven replaced several functions of the Open Shelter, which closed in 2004.
Food security is an issue in Columbus; according to a 2018 study, about 32 percent of households in neighborhoods along High Street had low or very low food security, with 27 percent finding it difficult to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables. Food deserts included Franklinton, the Hilltop, East and Northeast Columbus, South and East Linden, Downtown, and the Arena District.
Access to food is addressed in the city through food panties as well as nonprofit markets offering free or discounted groceries. In 2018, the All People's Fresh Market opened on Parsons Avenue and the Jubilee Market and Cafe opened in Franklinton,while the Fresh Market and Charitable Pharmacy opened in the Linden neighborhood in 2021. The Mid-Ohio Food Collective also operates three free grocery markets in the city.
Low-income living with social service assistance was depicted in the pilot of 30 Days , a Morgan Spurlock television show. In the episode, aired in 2005, Spurlock and his fiance unsuccessfully attempt to live in the city's Franklinton neighborhood and work in the city on minimum wage.
Franklinton is a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, just west of its downtown. Settled in 1797, Franklinton is the first American settlement in Franklin County, and was the county seat until 1824. As the city of Columbus grew, the city annexed and incorporated the existing settlement in 1859. Franklinton is bordered by the Scioto River on the north and east, Harmon Avenue on the east, Stimmel Road and Greenlawn Avenue on the south, and Interstate 70 on the west. Its main thoroughfare is West Broad Street, one of the city's two main roads.
Fifth Third Center is a 302 ft-tall (92 m) skyscraper on Capitol Square in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. It was completed in 1998 and has 25 floors. Miller & Reeves designed the building, which is the 17th tallest in Columbus. The skyscraper was designed in a post-modern style. The building was constructed as an addition to the Beggs Building, an Art Deco highrise built in 1928.
Chase Tower is a 357 ft-tall (109 m) skyscraper located at 100 East Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio. It was completed in 1964 and has 25 floors. It is the 12th tallest building in Columbus and was the tallest constructed in the 1960s. The building served as the headquarters of Bank One prior to its merger with First Chicago NBD, and was known as the Bank One Tower; it later became known as the Columbus Center. The building was designed by the architectural firm Harrison & Abramovitz and it follows the international architectural style. The building also employs a curtain wall facade system.
Engine House No. 12 is a former fire station in the Olde Towne East neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. Today it primarily houses Gemüt Biergarten, a German restaurant, brewery, and biergarten, with its second story used for offices. It is a contributing property to the Columbus Near East Side District, a national historic district established in 1978.
The Christopher Inn was a hotel in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. The cylindrical mid-century modern hotel had 16 floors, 137 wedge-shaped rooms, and modern interiors at the time. It was built on the site of the Alfred Kelley mansion, which was disassembled in order to build the hotel. The Christopher Inn operated from 1963 to 1988, when it was demolished. The site is now used as a surface parking lot.
Budd Dairy Food Hall is a food hall in the Italian Village neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. The Cameron Mitchell Restaurants-run hall holds ten foodservice locations, three bars, and indoor, patio, and rooftop seating. It is situated in the historic Budd Dairy Company building, a former milk processing and distribution facility. The space was renovated beginning in 2018, and opened in April 2021.
The West Side Spiritualist Church was a historic church building in Franklinton, Columbus, Ohio. The Spiritualist church was built in 1912 for the congregation of Harry Boerstler, who moved to the neighborhood in 1900 to bring hope to its working-class people. The congregation lasted until about 1948, and the building later housed the Boerstler Memorial Spiritualist Temple and the Greater Christ Temple Apostolic Church. After years of vacancy, the church building was approved to be demolished for affordable housing, to accompany an upscale mixed-use development nearby, despite opposition from preservationists.
The Northmoor Engine House, or Station 19, is a Columbus Division of Fire station in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. It was listed on the Columbus Register of Historic Properties in 2003. It was named for Jerry Kuhn in 2002; Kuhn was a lieutenant for Station 19 and died in the line of duty in 1972.
Elah Terrell (1851–1920) was an American architect from Columbus, Ohio. Terrell designed important buildings under the company Elah T. Terrell & Co. in Ohio, notably in Sheffield, Lorain County, and Columbus. Terrell was a member of the Ohio chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Yost & Packard was an architectural firm based in Columbus, Ohio, United States. The firm included partners Joseph W. Yost and Frank Packard. It was founded in 1892 and continued until Yost moved to New York City in 1900, after which Packard took up practice in his own name.
The Columbus Bus Station is an intercity bus station in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. The station, managed by Greyhound Lines, also serves Barons Bus Lines, Miller Transportation, GoBus, and other carriers. The current building was constructed in 1969. Since 1979, with the demolition of Union Station and a short-lived replacement, the Greyhound station has been the only intercity transit center in the city.
Columbus City Hall was the city hall for Columbus, Ohio, located on Capitol Square in the city's downtown. The building served the mayor and city council from its construction in 1872 until its demolition in 1921. The building was the founding site for the United Mine Workers of America in 1890. In 1928, the site became home to the Ohio Theatre, and the current Columbus City Hall opened nearby.
The Ohio Institution for the Deaf and Dumb was a deaf school campus in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. The school, today known as the Ohio School for the Deaf, sat on the present-day Topiary Park grounds in the modern-day Discovery District. The main school building was gutted by a fire on October 2, 1981, though an existing building still stands as Cristo Rey Columbus High School. That remaining building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Columbus Register of Historic Properties.
Engine House No. 7 is a former Columbus Fire Department station in the Weinland Park neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. It was built in 1894 and was listed on the Columbus Register of Historic Properties in 1994. Today the building houses a local branch of the Communications Workers of America, Local 4501.
The Joseph Henderson House, also known as the A.H. Dierker House, is a historic farmhouse in Columbus, Ohio. The house was built in 1859 by Joseph Henderson for him, his wife, and their ten children. The family lived on-site until the 1930s, when Arthur H. Dierker's family moved in, living there until 1983. The house was added to the Columbus Register of Historic Properties in that year. Since then, the building has been used for offices, and since 2018, a local brewery.
Engine House No. 10 is a Columbus Division of Fire station in the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. The original firehouse was built in 1897, while its neighboring replacement, also known as Station 10, was completed in 2008.
The Lazarus House is a historic house in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. It was built in 1886 for Frederick Lazarus Sr., president of the F&R Lazarus & Company, and was designed in the French Second Empire style. It has undergone numerous renovations since its construction, including for conversion into office space, into apartments, and back to predominantly single-family occupancy. The house is a contributing property of the East Town Street Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places and Columbus Register of Historic Properties.
The Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel is a Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. The hotel has 22 stories, and was designed by Columbus architects Kellam & Foley in the International style.
The Park Hotel was a hotel in Columbus, Ohio. It was later in its history known successively as the Northern Hotel, the Railway Y.M.C.A., and as the Goodale Hotel. The building stood at the northwest corner of North High Street and Goodale Street.
Ringside Café is a restaurant and bar in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. The restaurant is considered the oldest bar or restaurant in Downtown Columbus, having opened in 1897 and operated continuously since then. The restaurant has always been an attraction of politicians, lawyers, reporters, and lobbyists, given its proximity to the Ohio Statehouse, Columbus City Hall, and other government buildings.