LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's the hottest stretch of the year and homeless shelters make more room for people seeking relief.
Dangerous heat continues to grip Kentucky with heat indices above 100 degrees. Many of Louisville’s homeless shelters prepare for a ‘white flag’ emergency. It’s when they provide additional space to help more people escape this dangerous weather.
Anyone who steps outside for even a few minutes can feel it, but for those living outside escaping the heat, it may be a matter of life and death.
“Man, just to walk to the bus stop is kind of like, where’s the water at? So I can only imagine what it’s like for the guys actually sleeping out there,” ‘Montrell’ told Spectrum News 1.
Montrell, who asked us not to use his last name, has been staying at the Ozanam Inn Men’s Emergency Homeless Shelter on Jackson Street. The Louisville native says this is the second time in his life he’s been without a place of his own.
“This is a game changer being able to have a place like this and come in, in the daytime,” he adds.
The Ozanam Inn is a 24/7 men’s shelter, so ‘white flag’ or not, it’s always a place for people to stay with a referral.
“So 50 beds for single men, typically chronically homeless, but then we have 20 beds as well in there specifically designated or our veterans,” Tony Nochin, communications and public relations coordinator with St. Vincent de Paul, said.
Closer to downtown is Wayside Christian Mission, and it opens up additional shelter space the moment temperatures or the heat index reaches 95 degrees.
“Come in, relax, get cooled off, have some good meals, get some nutrition and we can help them any other way we can while they are here,” Nina Moseley said. Moseley is the chief operating officer at Wayside.
Mosley says for homeless residents, extreme heat is just as dangerous as extreme cold. He says everyday volunteers also travel the city making contact with people staying outside and providing food and water. “But the main goal of the ‘Samaritan Patrol’ is to encourage folks to come in and it’s a step for some people to go from street camping to indoors,” he said.
Three weeks into his stay at Ozanam Inn, Montrell says he has a part-time job, is saving his money while pursuing a home voucher to help secure his own apartment.
“I see them sleeping under the viaduct. I’m homeless, I sleep in here. So, I don’t get it nearly as bad, but when I do go out to work, it’s blazing hot. I’ll walk to the corner and by the time I get to the corner, I’m drenched in sweat,” he explained.
He’ll tell anyone he can do what you can to get indoors.
Wayside Christian Mission is accepting donations of water bottles, fresh fruit, and toilet paper. Those can be dropped off at either their Jackson Street address or Hotel Louisville.