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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

NKY Convention Center Converted To Socially Distanced Shelter-In-Place For Homeless

nky convention center homeless shelter
Courtesy of Welcome House of Northern Kentucky

Dozens of Greater Cincinnati homeless are on lockdown at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center where they can eat, sleep and receive medical care.

The convention center agreed to the arrangement for two weeks after the Welcome House of Northern Kentucky and the Emergency Shelter of Northern Kentucky asked Kenton County Judge Executive Kris Knochelmann for a solution in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Right now our numbers are between 70 and 75 guests in the building per night," Welcome House CEO Danielle Amrine said on Wednesday. "We were really looking at a community solution on how we could protect this population that is more transient than ever."

Amrine says each guest has a 10x10-foot space enabling social distancing. There is one room for sleeping and another room for meals. 

Many organizations and businesses have stepped up to provide three meals a day including:

  • Cornerstone Church
  • First Baptist Church
  • First Christian Church
  • Pee Wee's Place
  • Golden Rule Catering
  • Pickles and Bones Catering
  • Fairhaven Rescue Mission
  • Salvation Army
  • Be Concerned

Lord's Gym is providing staffing and showers and the Brighton Center is also helping to staff the convention center.
Buzz Mansfield is staying at the convention center. He's been homeless for two months and has spent much of it outside. Now he's glad to have a place to sleep. "They're helping the best they can and it's a pretty cool deal."

He and others can only leave if they have to go to work or a medical appointment.

Medical personnel are on-site to take temperatures every four hours. If somebody has COVID-19, there is an isolation room.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.