The Open Shelter


The Open Shelter is an Advocacy Center & Day Services Shelter for homeless and marginally-housed people in Central Ohio. We provide crucial needs directly to those in crisis.  Coordinated, supportive services are also provided, directly or by referral.

“Summertime….and the living is easy…”, or so the song goes. Unfortunately for those we serve, the living isn’t easy during the summertime. It is very easy to assume that since it is no longer bone-chilling cold, things get easier for the most vulnerable.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The climbing heat and blistering sun can cause many issues for those living outside without a home. Being outside continuously can cause dehydration, extreme sunburn, and heat-related illnesses such as respiratory issues, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion.

Unfortunately, we also see a noticeable dip in donations and support during the summer months. It is understandable to an extent. Who doesn’t want to take advantage of the summer weather to travel or do outside activities after the winter?

But the need is still there. We will still see hundreds each day that need food, clothing, bottled water, hygiene items, and linkages to healthcare to survive during these summer months.

We are also still seeing a startling number of families that are coming to The Open Shelter to make it through. It is heartbreaking to have young families and single parents rely on us to survive.

YOUR support makes it happen. YOUR support keeps The Open Shelter OPEN for them.


Thank You.


The Open Shelter & YOU assisted 1,648 homeless and marginally-housed persons in 2024 as of July 1st; 573 of whom were “living on the streets”. 

28,703 sack lunches and 60,620 ‘to-go’ meals were provided.  33 men and women participated in our “Payeeship” program, which helps homeless and recently homeless persons who need third-party money management. 

769 instances of outdoor item assistance were provided in addition to 2,529 instances of clothing assistance.
We also provided 972 hygiene kits & 232 diapers.  493 bus passes were passed out.

We also helped guests with acquiring State IDs, Drivers Licenses, and Birth Certificates.

There is also access to phones, copiers, faxes, and computers in addition to providing a mailing address.
This is only possible because of YOUR support.

YOU keep The Open Shelter OPEN!

We look forward to your continuing support this year.
Thank You.  

Thank you to the Columbus Metropolitan Club for having Open Shelter Director Sheli Mathias as part of their “What Would It Take To End Homelessness In Columbus?” forum.

We are grateful to have the opportunity to share our story and participate in a great conversation about advocating for those in need in our community.


Volunteers can help in a number of different ways.
Preparing and serving food.
We can always use food groups to serve a hot meal in the mornings and also need volunteers.  Taking in and sorting donations.  Organizing and sorting our Material Assistance Room.  Cleaning and sprucing up our agency.  Clerical and office duties.

We are willing to work with YOU and YOUR GROUP in regards to donation & pledge drives. Need more info? Want to help? Please give us a call at 614-222-2885 or email us at

The Open Shelter, Inc.   
1037 Parsons Ave. 
Columbus, Ohio  43206   

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