Transylvania University to house the homeless during pandemic

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) —  A unique partnership is turning unused space into a valuable resource during these difficult times.

With students taking classes remotely, Transylvania University offered the practice gym, showers and locker rooms at the Clive M. Beck Center as a temporary shelter for the homeless from Lexington’s Hope Center.

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At a university where 90-percent of the students are involved in community service, Transylvania says it was a no-brainer to offer its space.

The university and the shelter have a long relationship.

“Our students regularly go to the Hope Center to volunteer and so this was an opportunity for us, when they asked for space, to give them space that they very much needed,” says Megan Moloney, Vice President of Communications at Transy.

Around 50 men will stay here. This allows the center, which serves more than 600 clients a night, to meet social distancing rules.

“So we’re trying to get the shelter down to 100 which will allow us the ability to sleep with a recommended distance between the mats and to have less people interacting,” says Janice James, interim executive director at the Hope Center.

The university’s dining partner, Bon Appetit Management Company, is also providing meals.

“That’s important to us as well because they’ve been able to bring some of their employees back on to provide that food service,” says Moloney.

Tthe shelter is open until the end of April but the men won’t be idle.

“They brought all kinds of board games over. They can actually use the hoops and shoot basketball. We have access to Alumni Plaza out here which is like you’re in a park,” says James.

But the important opportunity means the Hope Center needs donations like toiletries, towels, over the counter medicines, sanitizer, sandwich supplies and more.

If you’d like to help out, click here.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.