CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The freezing death of a homeless man 3 years ago Sunday inspired the city’s first and only day center to open on Christmas Day.
Maslow’s Army staff say they opened the Todd B. Portune Memorial Day-Care Center just 24 hours before the 3rd anniversary of Ken Martin’s passing
They say they have a lease to operate the day center for 90 days with an option to add a fourth month.
While they’ve been able to help dozens stay warm from the cold elements the past few days, they say Ken’s death serves as a reminder that they must do better to protect the homeless population.
“He was such a kind man,” staff member Ryan McLendon said.
Ken is remembered as a generous and honorable man, known for always doing what he thought was right for others.
Those who knew him say he was the kind of guy who would give the shirt off his back.
“Even the day he was found dead at the bus stop at 6:30 in the morning, he had given the coat off his back to help another man,” a staff member said.
Ken was a volunteer with Maslow’s Army and also received assistance from them.
“He just didn’t have a chance out there in these elements, and that’s the vital need of a shelter like this,” McLendon said.
Ken’s unfortunate death pushed Maslow’s Army to advocate for more warm places of refuge for the homeless in the greater Cincinnati community.
“The beauty of us being opened in the daytime it’s still cold in the wintertime, and the shelters around here kick them out around 5:30 in the morning,” McLendon said.
“We could’ve saved Ken Martin’s life, but we didn’t have this yet,” a volunteer said.
Not only is Maslow’s Army providing a space to escape the cold elements, but they also help the homeless find jobs, food, and other resources.
Day center staff say while their doors are now open, Ken’s death will continue to remind them that they must do better as a community to protect the most vulnerable population.
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