LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Ginny Ramsey received the projections and knew something had to be done.
"The estimate that we got in Lexington is that we're going to be 400 beds short. And that's without evictions," Ramsey said.
Ramsey leads Lexington's Catholic Action Center, which can house up to 140 homeless people at a time in a typical year. But with COVID-19 restrictions in place, they've had to spread things out and do something they've never done before; turn people away. With cold weather and the flu season on the way, the CAC was able to close the gap a bit.
An 8,000 square foot facility, attached to the CAC's central location, became available when the state offered up its old Kentucky Career Center. This will allow the center to add 80 beds for the winter, once that space is renovated. Work on that begins this Thursday.
"Sealing up that area that's going to be used for quarantine, doing a few other things. We have to put in showers and put in laundry," Ramsey said of some of the work that needs to be done before anyone can move in. The project will cost roughly 125,000 dollars, but that might be a conservative estimate. And the CAC relies solely on donations.
"We're begging," Ramsey said tongue in cheek. "We need to call on the city to realize the critical situation this is," Ramsey said. "People think it's bad now when you see folks on the street. Just wait (until it gets cold)."
Ramsey is concerned about the 2020-2021 winter and the shortage of shelter beds that'll exist once we get there.
"We're talking about the flu season, the cold weather and the COVID. That's a triple whammy for those who are unsheltered," she said.
Thanks to a little help from the state, 80 fewer people won't have to live through that trifecta.
*If you'd like to donate supplies or money to help fund this shelter renovation, visit the CAC website.