Shelter director trying to find more space for homeless population

Posted at 4:45 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 19:37:00-04

FRANKFORT KY. (LEX 18) — Unemployment numbers continue to climb as the coronavirus continues to hit our Kentucky communities.

The director of the Franklin County Women and Family Shelter says she's expecting a surge of requests for space, and they're scrambling to find more room.

"We know that people who are already on the edge of being homeless are gonna be more likely to become homeless," Gates said. "There's a need there without this (pandemic) happening, and we're all just bracing for what that need and those requests going up."

Social distancing and CDC guidelines to try and stop the coronavirus spread have affected thousands of Kentuckians who are now signing up for unemployment.

Homeless shelters are following those same restrictions.

"We've been wearing masks any time we're doing face-to-face with anyone," Gates said. "We're taking temperatures daily of everybody to monitor that."

Gates says right now there are only two staffers working at the shelter.

Because of the guidelines, there can only be two residents to a room, instead of three. On top of that, crews are still trying to repair a room that was destroyed by a fire at the end of February.

"We have no beds or anything in there right now," Gates said. "But they do have the floor in, and the new cabinets, and we're hoping to get that open but that may be a couple more weeks."

The shelter is full to capacity at 14 people right now, but Gates is taking on the challenge to find more space for Franklin County's most vulnerable.

Some are staying in motel rooms, and she's working with the local government on another temporary solution.

"Hopefully we're going to have a pop-up shelter sometime in the near future," Gates said.

As the restrictions continue, Gates expects demand for space to surge.

She hopes to help as many as she can face the pandemic and economic hard times ahead. If you'd like to learn more about the shelter, or help in their effort, you can go to their website.