Local News

Homeless Shelters Crowded As Temperatures Drop

by Sheila Ash

The extreme cold weather is bringing more homeless people in Louisville into area shelters.

Nina Mosely with Wayside Christian Mission says the shelter on Jefferson Street is over capacity.

“We do have a few families and what we are doing we are transferring women and families as quickly as possible to our transitional shelter which is at the former Holiday Inn at Second and Broadway,” she says.

Mosely says the shelters are operating under white flag conditions. That means they can make additional space in common areas for people when the temperature or wind chill is 35 degrees or below.

She says they will also accept donations of items such as lip balm, hats and gloves.

Local News

Shelters Fly White Flags During Hot Weather

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.

Local News

Food, Heat, Shelter Aid Still Available for Louisvillians

83,000 Louisvillians are still without power after last week’s ice storm.  Hundreds are still spending their nights in shelters throughout Jefferson County.  Nine warming centers also remain open across the city.  And Mayor Jerry Abramson says facilities are ready to help supply low income families with other assistance.
“All the Neighborhood Places will be open to be able to pick up groceries or to file for low income help in terms of heating,” says Abramson.

The Mayor says Meals on Wheels delivery resumes today as well.  Local fire stations will help fill in gaps on routes where volunteers still aren’t able to travel.

Local News WFPL News Department Podcast

Homeless Shelters Busy; Some without Power

Homeless shelters and other service agencies have been struggling with storm’s effects. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Officials at Louisville’s Coalition for the Homeless report shelters throughout the city are near or at capacity with people needing lodging during this week’s weather. And some agencies have also been doing their work without power. That includes Wayside Christian Mission, which lost power but now has electricity. Others, like the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, are still coping without power.

Ed Wnorowski is the executive director at St. Vincent de Paul.

“Obviously, we’re running overtime, in particular for the maintenance staff,” Wnorowski says. “We’re running five generators and that’s consuming gasoline, which is not budgeted. But so far our heads are above water.”

St. Vincent de Paul and other agencies say they have seen increased demand for services in their kitchens where they are feeding more people and more families.

“Where we’re seeing the spike in demand is folks coming into the kitchen, and this is specifically weather related not just economy related,” Wnorowski says.

Local News

More Homeless School Children in Jeff. Co.

More Jefferson County Public School students are categorized as homeless this year than last.  Marlene Gordon heads Louisville’s Coalition for the Homeless.

“There are 7,600 students in Jefferson County Public Schools that meet the criteria for homelessness.  And that’s a 300 child increase from last year,” says Gordon.

Gordon says shelters are completely full, including a 36 unit family shelter.  And so far this year they’ve had to turn away 120 families.  Gordon says the biggest increase in the homeless population is single women with children.  Many have been laid off because of the weak economy or find that their salaries can’t cover rising costs.