The Open Shelter



Organize a fundraiser among classmates or family to help raise money for Huckleberry House. The money you raise will help Huckleberry House provide services to youth and parents throughout the area.

Host a party, lemonade stand, bake sale or other event to raise money for Huckleberry House.


Who can help: Anyone!

Unmentionable Monday


We need you to collect and donate packages of underwear and socks for the homeless and marginally housed that we serve….mens & womens in all sizes are preferred!!

Who can help: Anyone!

T-Shirt Tuesday


We need YOUR donations of gently used and new t-shirts for the homeless and marginally housed that we serve….mens & womens in all sizes are preferred!!

Who can help: Anyone!

Woodsy Wednesday


We are in need of donations of camping equipment such as tents, tarps, candles, flashlights and sleeping bags to help those we serve who live outside…this would be a great ‘project’ for Boy or Girl Scout Troops!

Who can help: Anyone!

Thirsty Thursday


We are in need of donations of coffee, bottled water, bottled & canned soda/energy drinks, juice/drink pouches and boxes, powdered and canned milk, bottled and mixes of juice & lemonade and water bottles/thermoses to help those we serve!

Who can help: Anyone!


Food Friday


We are in need of donations of canned goods (especially those with pop-tops), cereal, snack foods, peanut butter, jelly, sugar, salt, pepper, pancake mix, loaves of bread, pasta, sauces and soups.   We can also accept some quantities of perishable goods such as luncheon meats, hot dogs and cheese.

Who can help: Anyone!

Contact The Open Shelter under the ‘Contact’ tab on the menu to your left to set up volunteer opportunities or service projects!

What is your organization’s mission statement?



The Open Shelter provides, directly or by referral, emergency shelter and assistance for homeless and marginally housed persons in Central Ohio, especially the most vulnerable among them; and to provide directly or by referral, coordinated, supportive services, and transitional and/or permanent housing, enabling homeless and marginally housed persons to achieve maximum participation in the community.

What population do you serve? 


The Open Shelter focuses its efforts on homeless and marginally housed persons in Central Ohio 


How many do you serve in a year? 


Last year, The Open Shelter worked with 803 persons.

What region or area do you provide services in?


The Open Shelter continues to exist and to serve homeless persons in the heart of the city of Columbus.

How and when did the organization get started? 


The Open Shelter, Inc., opened on December 6, 1983, as the first 24-hour emergency walk-in shelter in Ohio. Since then, over 20,000 different men and women have been helped.


How many employees do you have? 


We have 15 employees.

How do your programs or services help the community?


The Open Shelter provides direct referrals to detox/treatment, medical care, entitlement benefits, and housing options. Because of the limitations of the shelter system, our outreach efforts include providing persons living “on the street” with food, clothing, sleeping bags, etc. to help them survive until they are able to access shelter or housing options. Outreach provides follow-up services for persons who have recently moved “off the streets” and into housing.


Program Descriptions 


Bag Lunches: prepared and delivered by the dedicated volunteer groups who have been part of our meals program for years. On a daily basis, meals are provided to 100 people. Dinners are also prepared off-site, transported and served by dedicated volunteer groups. Meals are served on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings through Broad Street United Methodist Church


Housing Option Services: 

  • Advocacy and Assistance securing Supportive and Public Housing
  • Help with Landlord/Tenant Mediation
  • Referral for Shelter Access
  • Help and Referral for Mental Health residential treatment


Material Assistance Program: 

Established in 1984, we collect, sort and distribute new and used material goods, free of charge, to the homeless and marginally housed. We stock and provide a wide range of things that our clients need including: clothing, shoes, coats, toiletries, aspirin, bandages, cough medicine, blankets, wash cloths, envelopes & stamps and bus passes.


Financial Management Services: provides services such as Individualized Safety Bank Club savings and financial management accounts which helps homeless and recently homeless persons needing third party money management for Federal Entitlements. The Program assumes this responsibility until a permanent fiduciary agent and support system is in place.

Entitlement Coordination assists homeless persons applying for disability benefits.


The Open Shelter’s Wishlist:

All of these items would help us with our Material Assistance Program:

  • Food: non-perishable, canned foods are always needed, cereal, coffee, tea, coffee creamer, condiments, gravy, jelly, pancake mix, pasta, peanut butter, soda pop, sauces, soup and sugar
  • Toiletries: brushes and combs, chapstick, denture cleaner, deodorant, disposable razors, lotion, mouthwash, nail clippers, shampoo, shaving cream, soap (bar), talcum powder, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tissues
  • Medical: antacid, bandages, buffered aspirin, cotton swabs, cough medicine and lozenges, foot powder, latex gloves, over-the-counter medications and rubbing alcohol.)
  • New or Gently Used Clothingbelts, coats, handkerchiefs, hats and scarves, dress pants and jeans, shirts and sweaters, shoes, socks and underwear
  • General: blankets, sheets, towels and washcloths, shoe polish kits, shoestrings, bus passes, envelopes, pencils, and pens, postage stamps, writing tablets, safety pins, sewing kits and watches
Items used by the agency to serve clients:
  • Cleaning items: bleach, laundry detergent, soap and trash bags, meal & paper supplies such as cups, plates and bowls, napkins, paper towels, plastic utensils, and toilet paper
  • Office supplies (3/5 disks, bankers boxes, binder and paper clips, computer paper (for dot matrix), copy paper, envelopes, file folders, notepads, pens, pencils and highlighters, postage stamps, rubber bands and tape

Name: Kent Beittel

Title: Community Engagement Manager

Organization: The Open Shelter


Work: (614) 222-2885

Work: (614) 461-0407

61 E Mound St
Columbus, OH 43215