COLUMBUS — The latest numbers from the Community Shelter Board are in, revealing that more than 2,300 people are experiencing homelessness this year in Central Ohio. That's more than 20% higher than last year, officials said.  

What You Need To Know

  • The Community Shelter Board shows homelessness in Central Ohio is 20% higher than last year

  • Donald Trimble, who was experiencing homelessness on and off for 3 years, shares how the Community Housing Network changed his life

  • CHN says a lack of affordable housing and our growing population are contributing to the homelessness rates 

But, despite rising numbers, a Columbus man who was experiencing homelessness got a new lease on life.

Donald Trimble is all too familiar with hardships.

"Being homeless was not nice,” Trimble said.

After falling into the grips of alcoholism, Trimble was experiencing homelessness on and off for three years, he said, often staying at shelters.

"Just not having your own place, your own keys, your own privacy," he said of shelters. "There was no privacy.” 

That all changed in 2011. 

Trimble would spend the next 12 years at the YMCA before he got a place of his own.

Samantha Shuler, CEO of Community Housing Network, was a big part of the mission to help homeless people.

But now, the need is only growing.

"From 2022 to 2023, homelessness has grown by 21% in a single year,” Shuler said.

A lack of affordable housing and a growing population could be to blame, she said. 

"The rents are rising, so they're less affordable to so many people,” Shuler. said “We're also growing dramatically here, and we haven't been keeping up with growth with the number of new homes and apartments that people can live in."

So, for Trimble, the Community Housing Network did its part, giving him not only a place to call home but a way to overcome adversity through CHN's support services. 

And Trimble said he couldn't ask for a better place to live.

"It was amazing,” he said. “It was a beautiful thing to actually realize I had my own keys, my name on my lease… just my name." 

Though Trimble can't take back the years he spent in shelters, there's one thing he can say: "God is good. It's a miracle. I mean, we're all miracles in progress. I've said that before, but every man and woman in this building are miracles in progress."

Help for those experiencing homelessness is available. For information, visit the Community Housing Nework website