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Some NKY Homeless Moved to Hotel

More than forty homeless people were moved into a hotel as of Monday, the Welcome House of Northern Kentucky announced.

That agency had partnered with similar ones in the region to house the homeless population at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. 

The Welcome House is paying for the hotel expenses for a 30-day quarantine issued by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and the plan is part of Welcome House's phase-three disaster plan during the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

The cost is expected to be $12,000 per week for 42 hotel rooms. The hotel had been empty, the Welcome House said. The hotel was not identified in the agency's announcement.

TANK is providing transportation while Welcome House and Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky employees will staff the facility. Cornerstone is providing breakfast while Fairhaven and Be Concerned will provide Lunch. PeeWee's Restaurant is providing dinner while the Lord's Gym will be doing regular grocery runs.

“It is amazing and inspiring to see Northern Kentucky come together like this to take care of our homeless citizens,” said Welcome House CEO Danielle Amrine. “This is what’s possible when we all work as a team.” 

Amrine said the use of a hotel is ideal for both protecting the homeless population and following the state’s quarantine guidelines. Each guest will have his or her own room, ensuring the requisite social distancing. Guests can shower and otherwise attend to their hygiene needs. The Welcome House nurse  will conduct physical exams and consultation. 

“And we will also be providing them a level of dignity,” said Amrine. “To see the reactions of these  folks when we told them we were moving them to a hotel was both heart-warming and humbling. A few of them cried.” 

Also in phase three, the Welcome House mobile medical clinic will continue to visit homeless encampments to take temperatures, provide supplies and education and hand out care packages. 

By utilizing the Convention Center for phase two, Welcome House was able to provide 838 bed nights of shelter and service to nearly 140 individuals. Guests received health and case management assessments and regular monitoring. No guests have reported a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms. 

Phase one of the Welcome House plan was the implementation of its infectious disease protocol – including locking down its shelter, closing its Kings Crossing location, providing limited services from its Pike Street facility and having 70-percent of its staff working from home. Welcome House provided hotel rooms for high-risk shelter clients and helping get families off the street. The organization’s Street and Medical Outreach teams continued visiting camps and other areas to check on people, take temperatures, hand out care packages, provide handouts and education and discourage gatherings of ten or more people. 

Phase four of the Welcome House plan calls for data tracking and reporting. Phase five will include a general debrief, indicated actions and planning for the next disaster. 

“I’m proud of how our organization and our team are responding to this emergency,” said Amrine, who worked 13 years at the American Red Cross managing disaster operations, including those related to the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and countless tornados. “We have a lot of work left to do. But we’re ready.” 

-Staff report