Shelters seeing fewer numbers than in the past

URBANA, Ohio (WDTN) – The bed might not seem like much but for Jack Rufus it means everything.

“If it wasn’t for the Caring Kitchen I would have frozen to death outside,” Rufus says.

Rufus is one of 12 people staying at the Caring Kitchen in Champaign County.

That’s twice as many as the 6 who had been there before the cold snap but it’s not as many as in past years.

“I’ve been surprised we haven’t had more people than we have currently,” says Assistant Director Dale Fitch.

Soon officials will have a better idea of how many homeless there are in Ohio.

Right now the state is doing its yearly Point In Time Count for homeless.

“Those numbers are used to help us know what kind of services are needed,” Fitch says. “It helps the state to gauge where the monies need to go. ”

The count found more than 12,000 homeless last year.

That’s the lowest number since the count started in 2008.

Those with the Caring Kitchen think it’s because of an effort to find permanent housing for the homeless.

“When somebody comes to us we try to help them get into a place initially,” Fitch says.

You can count Rufus among those looking for a place to call his own in the surrounding area.

“I’m just waiting on the opportunity to get on with my life,” Rufus says. “Maybe seek work over there.”

Adds Fitch, “The vast majority of the homeless we deal with want a job. Nobody wakes up in 7th grade and says I want to be homeless and out on the street. They made bad choices and things have happened but they want to make it on their own. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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