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As snow approaches, rates of homelessness are up and shelter resources are down

homeless shelter
Posted at 10:43 PM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 11:08:14-05

As winter weather approaches the Tri-State region for the first time this year, organizations that serve people struggling with homelessness are dealing with fewer resources, a pandemic and rising rates of homelessness throughout the region.

"We were going to have probably 50 to 100 less beds in our area this season," said Danielle Amrine, CEO of Welcome House of Northern Kentucky.

Across the river, in Ohio, the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati is worried, too.

"We're seeing increased numbers now," said Stacey Burge, executive director of the organization.

The Interfaith Hospitality Network specifically serves families experiencing homelessness, working to provide shelter through houses of worship -- which can no longer be done safely during the pandemic. Instead, families are staying in hotel rooms while working with advocates to find more permanent housing.

"We're all stressed out during the pandemic, right?" said Burge. "We're all worried about how to keep ourselves safe. So imagine then how that worry would be amplified if you didn't have a place to call home."

Welcome House of Northern Kentucky will open a new shelter in Covington on Monday, when the Tri-State region is slated see its first snow of the year. The new shelter will be open 24/7 all winter long, but Amrine said the pandemic, and region-wide layoffs all year, have swelled the amount of people searching for a place to stay this winter.

"We're also seeing a lot of first-time homeless people due to being laid off, restaurant workers," said Amrine. "We're seeing a lot of new faces that we've not seen before."

Anyone in need of shelter or assistance can reach out to Welcome House of Northern Kentucky or the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati.