The 19th annual Shantytown begins on Sunday with the construction of huts on the Academic Mall

This year's event focuses on the struggles of homeless veterans | October 17, 2008

On Sunday, Oct. 19, cardboard boxes, wooden crates and plywood roofing pop up on the grass lawns up and down the Academic Mall in the annual re-creation of the plight of people who are homeless. Shantytown 2008, now in its 19th year, begins at noon on Sunday and concludes at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 24.

This year’s annual Shantytown event aims to educate people about the unique struggles of homeless veterans. Money raised through Shantytown T-shirt sales benefits the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless (GCCH).

During the week, students participating in Shantytown sponsor and build shanties for $25. They live in the shanties for a five-day experience of solidarity with the homeless. This year, representatives from agencies that serve homeless veterans are sharing information about services available for veterans when they come home from military service.

Students also are attending special events focused on the topic of homelessness, including a simple meal at Dorothy Day House, a panel discussion on preventing homelessness, a cookout on the greenspace and a documentary film, “When I Came Home,” about the experience of a homeless veteran.

The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless was formed in 1984 to work toward the eradication of homelessness in Cincinnati. The agency provides emergency shelter, transitional living facilities, housing, medical services, social services, meals, and mental health and addiction services.