Love INC

Sabine Poux/KDLL

A Nikiski homeless shelter that has been years in the making opened late last month and is now taking in new clients.

"We had our first person right after Christmas," said Leslie Rohr, executive director of Love INC, the nonprofit taking point on the shelter.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Temperatures dipped below freezing in Kenai this weekend. Each year, that first frost is a reminder that the Central Kenai Peninsula still doesn’t have an emergency cold-weather shelter for its homeless residents.

“In the short term, it is worrisome," said Leslie Rohr, executive director of Love INC. "And we go through this every winter, ‘What are we going to do?’”

The peninsula has most of what it needs for an emergency cold weather shelter. 

“The food bank is ready, willing and able to provide the evening meal and a light breakfast to go in the mornings. We have transportation available through a couple different avenues," said Leslie Rohr. She's executive director of Love INC, one of several peninsula groups that are spearheading the initiative to get a shelter going this winter.

What they’re missing is a space. And there’s not much that can happen without one.


The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management focused on community needs in its twice-weekly community conversation Thursday night. 

Love, INC., a faith-based community support organization headquartered on Kalifornsky Beach Road, is serving as the donations and volunteer coordinator during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Leslie Rohr said they’re at home in that role, even if the needs lately are higher. 

“We operate as a clearinghouse on a regular basis and that is, needs come into our ministry and then we do find the appropriate resources to fill those needs, and we just are doing it on a larger scale now,” Rohr said.

Leslie Rohr, executive director of Love, INC, spoke with host Jenny Neyman about the organization's efforts to help those facing poverty, as well as Project Homeless Connect and an effort to start an emergency cold-weather shelter program.

Jay Barrett/KDLL photo

  Project Homeless Connect, a one-day outreach to the peninsula’s disadvantaged, attracted scores people to the Soldotna Sports Complex Wednesday. Frank Alioto, whose daytime job is at Central Peninsula Hospital, is a co-leader of the project.