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Schizophrenia in Winter

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Every winter, from December 15 through the end of February, my church opens up their basement to the homeless, turning it into a shelter from the Cincinnati ice and snow.

Tired, dirty men and women sleep on small cots covering the basement floor with little room in between, and not much privacy. Many are mentally ill. Every homeless person who uses the shelter is given their own backpack and a blanket, but a blanket is hardly sufficient in frigid weather. Persons may enter the shelter at 8pm and are welcome to stay until seven in the morning, when they must leave.

Fortunately, in Cincinnati, many small organizations serve the homeless, and there are places where they can eat free meals and rest throughout most of the day. But when there is nowhere else to go, libraries often become a refuge for the Cincinnati homeless to escape the bitter cold.

I feel a deep and personal connection with these people as I look back upon my own life.

While homeless in Los Angeles from 2003-2007, I regularly slept in libraries at night, and spent hours in different libraries during the daytime. Libraries became my shelter in inclement weather. My fourth year homeless, I was banned from entering a library that was open 24 hours, but I frequently........

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