The Drop Inn Center is a non-profit agency serving homeless individuals in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their stated mission is to be a “community of residents, staff and volunteers working together to provide basic human services for men & women experiencing homelessness with a primary commitment to shelter.”
The Drop Inn Center began in the early 1970s. The shelter’s founder, Buddy Gray, took people off the street into his own apartment. The shelter formalized and began as an evening shelter for the homeless in Cincinnati in 1973. It occupied a series of storefronts in Over-the-Rhine, first at 1713 Vine St. and later at 1324 Main Street. In 1976, city politics and a lack of funding threatened the shelter with closure on the weekends. A group of volunteers responded to this by committing to keep the shelter open seven days a week; they soon incorporated as an organization called the Shelter-house Volunteer Group.
As time passed and the shelter grew, the storefront on Main St. became increasingly inadequate. On January 13, 1978 volunteers associated with the Drop Inn Center moved illegally to the former Teamster Hall at 217 W. 12th Street. This move was seen by some as controversial. In the 1980s the Teamsters hall became so crowded that large iron bunks had to be installed. In 1990 a new wing was built on to the shelter to house 200 more residents, and a Drug Treatment Program for men.
Through the 1990s, the Drop Inn Center continued to add space and programs for the homeless. The women’s side of shelter was completely renovated in 1994, and in 1998 a recovery program for women, the Full Circle Program, began. In 1996, when Recovery Hotel opened as a transitional housing facility for men in recovery the Drop Inn Center began providing supportive services there. This direction was furthered by the development of the 12th & Elm Transitional Housing Project, eventually relocated in 2008 to make room for a new public arts high school.
A new comprehensive intake system began in 2004 which allowed the Drop Inn Center to track its residents more effectively. The Drop Inn Center added a Case Management Program targeted to the long term homeless as well as a housing subsidy program called Shelter Plus Care. In 2009 the Center reorganized to add improvements to the Emergency Shelter, including the creation of a Step-Up Dorm for Men.