Kent Social Services makes room for homeless in cold weather

Justin Niedenthal

Once temperatures hit 10 degrees or below, Kent Social Services opens its doors for anyone who needs a place to sleep. 

“About the only other place to go is McDonald’s. This place is nice or you can go to Center of Hope in Ravenna, but they don’t usually let people sleep there,” said a woman staying at the Kent Social Services Center. She asked to remain anonymous.

“Honestly, there is a huge shortage of housing available for the homeless—especially if you’re single,” she said.

The service is run completely by volunteers. This winter, a rotation of three individuals make the service possible.

“It’s a fun place to hang out, we have great conversations,” Maria Bur-Walter, a volunteer, said. “(We) play board games, watch movies. These people are great.”

Kent Social Services provides hot meals to anyone hungry free of charge on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, with an early dinner on Thursday.

“We are the only place in Kent open when it’s cold. So when the public library closes and people need a place to sleep they can come here,” said Margo Kerns, manager at Kent Social Services.

Justin Niedenthal is a social services reporter for The Kent Stater, contact him at [email protected].