By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer
COVINGTON - Northern Kentucky's only cold-weather emergency shelter will open its doors this winter to an uncertain future.
Without a successful fund-raising drive, the 33-bed facility on Covington's east side might have to close before the end of winter. The Rev. Joseph Andino, who oversees the shelter, hopes to raise $25,000 to cover general costs and provide a stipend to staff.
The Warmth Cold Shelter generally opens when temperatures dip below freezing. It is next to Andino's Elohim Christian Center at 1205 Maryland Ave. Men can stay overnight for seven nights out of 60 and must pass an alcohol breath test.
The shelter opened on Jan. 10 with financial support from the Northern Kentucky Housing and Homeless Coalition. Andino said the shelter was nearly filled every night until it closed March 9.
Advocates for the homeless say the shelter fills an important need in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties. Northern Kentucky's only year-round shelters are Welcome House and Fairhaven Rescue Mission.
The Welcome House's 35 beds for women and children are usually full, and Fairhaven has only 16 overnight shelter beds for men in addition to eight beds for its long-term substance abuse rehabilitation program.
Aside from general costs of keeping the shelter open and providing a small stipend to workers, Andino said, some of the money raised would pay for a restaurant-quality sink.
The Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department will not permit the shelter to serve hot soups and chili this winter without the sink. Officials say a licensed master plumber must install a three-compartment sink with a grease trap and double drain board.
Sponsorship donation levels to support the cold shelter include $1,848 to cover expenses for one week, $264 to cover one day, $150 to cover half a day and $10 to cover expenses for one individual for one day.
For information on the cold shelter, call Rev. Joe Andino at (859) 291-0600.
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