by Gabe Bullard
Six Louisville homeless shelters have relaxed their overnight capacity rules due to the hot and humid weather.
When the heat index reaches or tops 95 degrees, the shelters fly white flags to indicate that the homeless can come in for relief from the heat overnight.
The flags first went up on Saturday and have remained in place since. Coalition for the Homeless director Natalie Harris says there’s no restriction on how many white flag days there can be in a given year, but there is a limit on reimbursements to shelters.
“We basically get $34,000 from the government each year to reimburse the agencies for making those extra spaces available for people, but we get that same amount regardless of how many white flag days and nights there are,” she says.
Harris says shelters will accommodate extra visitors, though some may not have enough beds and some people may have to sleep in chairs or on cots.
White flag days are also declared during extreme cold.