Friday, March 7, 2003

N.Ky. shelter to close for the season

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - A severe weather emergency shelter opened by Elohim Ministries during one of the worst winters in the past 10 years will close for the season on Sunday." Since the weather's breaking, we've made a decision to formally announce that March 9 will be the last day we're providing services," said the Rev. Joseph Andino. He oversees the shelter in his capacity as senior pastor of Elohim Christian Center, an outreach ministry at 1205 Maryland Ave. "We wanted to try to give people time to make other arrangements."

Andino said he plans to re-open the shelter during extreme weather this summer, as well as when temperatures drop next winter.

"Our city permit only allows us to be open during hot and cold weather emergencies," Andino said.

The 33-bed shelter in the newly renovated Elohim Christian Center operates from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on nights when the temperature drops to 30 degrees or below. Advocates, including the Northern Kentucky Housing and Homeless Coalition, said the shelter filled a critical need because Northern Kentucky has few shelter beds, especially for men. Since the shelter opened on Jan. 10, it has operated at or near capacity, Andino said. About 85 percent of the clients have been men.

Thanks to cooperation from many sectors, the Covington cold shelter provided refuge for people when the weather was at its coldest, said Jennifer Shofner, chairwoman of the Northern Kentucky Housing and Homeless Coalition.

"The cold shelter would not have happened without Elohim Ministries, Covington city officials and the volunteers stepping up to the plate like they did,'' Shofner said.


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