CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky is growing—and moving.
The shelter announced Wednesday it will move from its current home on Scott Boulevard, where it has provided folks a place to sleep, eat and re-start their lives since 2008, to a larger facility on West 13th Street.
The new facility, slated to open in 2020, is a decade in the making, according to ESNKY Executive Director Kim Webb.
“This is the culmination of a lot of people committed to providing emergency sheltering (…) that is without barriers to entrance,” Webb said.
The expansion is necessary, according to Webb. She cites a recent study that says between 2018 and 2019 more than 1,500 people in the three-county Northern Kentucky region experienced homelessness, 349 of which were either children or did not report an age.
To combat what the data suggests—that homelessness is a significant problem in the region—ESNKY is incorporating the services of two other organizations at the new shelter: Kenton County and St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
“We hope to envision a daytime center that is operating 24 hours and providing a space that is functional during the day to be somewhat of a navigation center,” Webb explained, “allowing community partners that have specialized services, case management, mental health, to come in here (and) meet our guests where they’re at.”
The new services will reportedly include:
- 24-hour sheltering during extreme temperatures (both hot and cold)
- An on-site medical clinic provided by St. Elizabeth Healthcare
- A Mental Health Court Diversion Program in partnership with Northern Kentucky Regional Mental Health Community Corrections
- Daytime restroom, shower and laundry services
- Locker storage that will hold clothing, IDs, birth certificates, social security cards, medicine, and other personal belongings.
- Mail services, including use of street address, as allowed by Kentucky statute, for job applications, IDs, benefits, social security cards, tax records, and healthcare enrollment.
Garren Colvin is the president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
“Having an on-site health clinic,” Colvin explained, “will allow us to perform certain screenings and immunizations, provide early intervention and treatment options for specific health concerns and connect guests to community resources for ongoing and follow-up care.”
Still, Kenton County Judge Kris Knochelmann cautions the new facility is not the end of the effort to stop homelessness, but the beginning.
“We want zero weather-related deaths, and pathways to long-term housing and personal stability for our residents,” Knockelmann said. “So, as we begin a new year, I hope others in our community will join us in this effort. We can work together to give people a means to get beyond homelessness and become productive members of our community.”