Nonprofit Stories - Welcome House
Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky is grateful for the many nonprofits that support and strengthen our community. We are actively reaching out to these organizations to listen to their stories in order to share them with you. This is an ongoing project that will cover many organizations across Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties.
“I have a job. I can go to work anytime I want. I just need a shower.”
A young woman is sitting under a bridge on a chilly, rainy day. Beside her sit several garbage bags, filled from waste she has collected around the space she stays. She points out one that was torn open overnight by a raccoon, not five feet from where she sleeps.
Jennifer and Chris, members of Welcome House of Northern Kentucky’s outreach team, talk to her about how they can directly help her with some of the barriers she faces. Jennifer helps her contact a pharmacy within walking distance to pick up a critical prescription she hasn’t had access to in weeks. Chris checks in on the others under the bridge, offering snacks, tents, and basic medical assistance. The two don’t look at these neighbors with pity. Their faces offer strength and support.
Every day, the outreach team hits the streets, parks, riverbanks, parking lots, and wherever else they need to be to reach our too often hidden neighbors in Northern Kentucky. The team connects Northern Kentucky’s homeless with housing, medical attention, mental health services, and any number of other resources that might be needed.
The outreach team is one piece of Welcome House’s holistic approach to ending homelessness. Welcome House began operating in 1982 as an emergency assistance center, providing beds and basic needs for disadvantaged citizens. The nonprofit and its founding coalition of churches quickly saw the need to adapt and serve more single-parent families, many headed by women, and established a shelter specifically for women and their children.
The nonprofit has continued to adapt through the years, adding services that assist the broad, complex situations of our homeless neighbors. While the emergency shelter for women is still in operation to meet the great demand of women and families without stable housing, Welcome House has built services to bring women and men in Northern Kentucky to self-sufficiency. Over the years, the nonprofit has established a payee program to assist clients with social security income, service coordination, permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing, and the street outreach program.
It is imperative to note that, while the nonprofit physically operates in Covington, many of the people and families that it serves come from suburban and rural areas, as well. For some, home is a van in an Alexandria parking lot, a tent set up in a wooded area in Erlanger, or a friend’s couch in Burlington.