COVINGTON, Ky. (WKRC) – There’s still snow on the banks of the Ohio River.
The brutal temperatures kept a lot of people off of Fountain Square Monday, a place that’s often busy at lunchtime, but the people most affected by the cold are people experiencing homelessness.
At Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Over-the-Rhine, there’s food and fellowship. Pastor John Suguitan has helped the church serve as a cold shelter for men and women for the past seven years.
“This is very dangerous times right now with it actually being so cold. People can actually die in the streets, and so we’ve seen a large number of people come here. In fact, we’re over capacity some nights,” Suguitan said. “They don’t have a bathroom to go to. They don’t have a place to have a pot of coffee to make in the morning, so this is their home and so we open our doors and we have coffee and donuts and juice and bagels.”
If there’s no room at Prince of Peace, police transport people in need to other shelters. Across the river, workers prepared early for the cold snap.
Normally, the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky opens in the evenings around 6 and people leave at 9 a.m. the next day, but the shelter is accommodating people for longer periods of time because of the temperatures.
Kim Webb is the shelter’s executive director. She explained how workers prepared.
“We knew Friday night when we intaked, when we brought the guests into the building, that we were in for the long haul, that we were going to stay open 24 hours for the guests that we shelter and take it all the way through Tuesday morning,” Webb said.
The shelter sometimes gets people who have homes but still need the help.
“Those that maybe have apartments currently that don’t have utilities or ability to get safe and warm,” Webb said.
The goal is to get people out of potentially dangerous temperatures and not judge them because of their circumstances.
“You know empathy, dignity, compassion in creating this relaxed environment,” Webb said.
The emergency shelter needs volunteers to help clean up as people leave Tuesday. They also need donations like gloves and sweatpants for guests.
Prince of Peace needs ,000 to operate its shelter between mid-December and the end of February. Currently, the church has a ,000 shortfall and could use the help.
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