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Covington leaders meet to hammer out rules, standards for city's proposed homeless ordinance

First reading for ordinance set for next Tuesday
Posted at 11:43 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 10:37:06-05

COVINGTON, Ky. — Discussion at Tuesday's board of commissioners caucus meeting dealt with adding safety standards to the city's proposed homeless ordinance drafted in October, 2019.

City leaders hope to balance empathy for the homeless population with respecting the rights of nearby property owners and come up with a set of rules that would help guide Boone and Campbell counties as well.

"We can't be the focal point of homelessness of Tri-County," Covington City Manager David Johnston said. "We all have a responsibility to that. By setting certain standards that are already in place, we codify them into code."

Since the original ordinance proposed in October, city leaders have met with different agencies to craft standards already upheld by many area shelters. By putting it in writing, officials can ensure shelters violating those standards are held accountable.

The ordinance would require each shelter to maintain certain sanitary conditions, including:

  • Using mattresses and box springs with water-repellent covers.
  • Shelters need to have a full list of the names of residents using the shelter.
  • Remaining open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide, at a minimum, access to toilets and showers.

In early January, Kim Webb, the executive director of the Emergency Shelter of NKY, said: "One of the goals for us is to have 24-hour sheltering to cut down on people exiting the building and really bringing in the community partners to connect with the adults that we shelter."

On Jan. 8, The Emergency Shelter of NKY announced it will open a new location in late 2020.

The first reading for the ordinance is next Tuesday. It could go to a full vote in two weeks.