Strong partners build strong communities

Written by Susie Martin, Library Services Specialist, Outreach Services

As we drove from stop to stop delivering Library books today, the weather went from cold and gray with snow on the ground to pouring rain. “What a terrible day to be experiencing homelessness,” I thought. Imagine the added stress of recovering after a hospital stay.

The Center for Respite Care, founded in 2003 and located in Over-The-Rhine, provides a safe haven for men and women without homes who are recovering from medical treatment. Their approach has two dimensions. As well as medical recovery, they also assist in breaking the cycle of homelessness through case management services.

The Center for Respite Care is open around the clock and provides 20 beds to those in need of a place to heal. It is a powerful and much-needed resource for the community. In addition to quality, holistic medical care, the center offers three healthy meals, showers, laundry, and many other amenities. Perhaps even more important than physical needs, they provide information to their clients about their medical issues and how to manage them as they work towards independence.

All of this would not be accomplished without the partnerships of many organizations. Thanks to the civic engagement of David Siders of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, the Outreach Services department became involved with the Center for Respite Care in 2017. We provide the center with reading materials and DVDs each month. In addition, we supply earbuds for each new client. During their stay, clients are asked to use earbuds in order to maintain quiet and privacy for everyone when engaging with media.

Although our part is small, we are proud to partner with this valuable organization. It is through this network of partnerships that we build strength in our communities. Outreach Services makes door-to-door deliveries to many locations throughout the county on a monthly rotation. Through this delivery service, we have the opportunity to see the significance of these partnerships firsthand.

When my feet are tired and the wind is biting, I like to think about one of the clients at the Center for Respite Care curled up with a good book, listening to music, or watching a movie that we delivered. Knowing that our work adds a little comfort to those who need it, gives me a jolt of warmth and energy.

As the year comes to an end, it is easy to become absorbed in the rush of parties and shopping. If you are looking for a reminder that the universe is bigger than your world, take a moment to reflect on the vital work at the Center for Respite Care. Then stop to think about how many Cincinnati organizations come together every day to make our city strong and bright.

Thank you to Ed Slater and Kay Burlew for sharing information on the Center for Respite Care. If you would like to know more, please visit their website at