Beginning operations in 1988, the Clinton County Homeless Shelter was the first emergency shelter to open in a rural Ohio community. Several citizens knew that homelessness was a problem within Clinton County, but had struggled for several years to find a comprehensive way to address the situation beyond the limited assistance then provided by the Department of Human Services, Community Action, St. Vincent DePaul Society, and area churches. The Wilmington Mayor's office, Wilmington City Council, area churches and several caring individuals came together in 1987 to initiate the process of obtaining a grant from the Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.
After securing approval of the grant application and matching funds from local outside sources, the group located a suitable house at 36 Gallup Street to begin operations. In addition to the original house at 36 Gallup Street, which now serves as the Women and Children's Residence, the Shelter also opened a Men's Residence at 30 Gallup Street in August of 2008. In December 2012 the Darleen Myers House opened at 390 Main Street to provide administrative office space. The donation center located at 382 Main Street and adjacent to the Darleen Myers House opened in 2016.
With the guideance, talents and gifts of Tom, Janet and Mark Matrka many dedicated volunteers work countless hours on each home and in 2016, the women and children's family home at 36 Gallup Street was dedicated as "The Matrka Family House" The Matrka family has been the driving force behind multiple renovation projects over the years at all four shelter properties.
Today the Clinton County Homeless Shelter provides emergency shelter for up to 38 men, women and children each night. It provides approximately 150 meals and snacks a day for those who call the shelter home. The Shelter also offers assistance for anyone in need of food, clothing and household items. Funding for the Shelter includes and depends upon donations from fundraisers, individuals, churches and businesses.
In 2018, the Shelter proudly celebrated its 30th anniversary of serving those in need in Clinton County.