CINCINNATI — Justice, equality and human rights were just some of the things Martin Luther King Jr. fought for, and a local social activist is working to keep MLK’s legacy alive through helping the homeless community. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition helps thousands of people experiencing homelessness across the city

  • They work with more than 60 agencies to help provide things like legal aid and holistic services

  • Social activist Mona Jenkins is hoping to keep MLK's legacy alive by helping eradicate homelessness

  • Jenkins said uniting as a community is one step to a solution

Gaining access to mail can be a challenge for someone who is homeless, and that’s why Mona Jenkins and her team have a dedicated mailroom for people to use.

Every day, the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition receives mail for more than 3,000 people experiencing homelessness.

“We get packages, mail — sometimes it’s prescriptions and legal documents, notifications that they are getting housing — and, so it’s really important that they have a reliable place to get their mail,” said Jenkins. 

Jenkins is the director of development and operations. She works with more than 60 agencies to coordinate services for people who are experiencing homelessness. Legal aid, youth and holistic services are just some of the things offered. 

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, more than 1,000 people in Cincinnati, and more than 10,000 in Ohio were homeless in 2020. 

“We don’t just want to provide housing,” she said. “We want to provide a home where therefore you are able to feel comfortable and able to do what you need to do in life.”

As a social activist, Jenkins shares some of the same ideals as Martin Luther King Jr. They both have fought, and Jenkins is continuing the fight, to end poverty.

She said addressing homelessness and lack of access to food are the first steps to the solution.

“We are trying to eradicate homelessness, not just minimizing the number of folks, but everyone has a right to basic human right to housing, to food, to shelter,” she said. 

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jenkins is one of the speakers at a march beginning at Cincinnati's Freedom Center. She said her message to the community is that radical change needs to happen in order to eradicate homelessness, and it can only happen when everyone unites. 

“If we want to end poverty and eradicate homelessness, we have to work collectively in doing so,” she said.