Kentuckiana Homeless Shelters increase guest intake due to heat - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentuckiana Homeless Shelters increase guest intake due to heat

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LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) – Temperatures on Tuesday hit the highest of the year for Kentuckiana, and local homeless shelters are making some adjustments to accommodate as many people as possible.

Inside Wayside Christian Mission, the basketball courts where guests usually sweat was covered in mats for them to keep cool.

The mission is now in Operation White Flag. A white flag hangs outside its front doors signaling everyone is welcome to stay the night regardless of the number of nights already stayed this year or behavior incidents in the past.

The typical rules are relaxed in order to save lives.

“Heat is just as life-threatening to some of our folks as is the cold weather," said Executive Director Nina Moseley. "Many of our people have heart disease, they have breathing problems, asthma and so forth, and it’s just very dangerous to be out."

Moseley said the shelter is notified by the Fire Marshall when Operation White Flag is to go into place, usually when the temperature or heat index is at least 95 degrees.

Outside the shelter, volunteers with Samaritan’s Patrol drove around downtown Louisville handing out ice water, fruit and vegetables.

“The patrol’s goal is to find those people that are out, give them a ride back to our shelter or even to another shelter if they prefer a different shelter,” Moseley said.

Also in downtown Louisville, St. John Center for Homeless Men offered showers and washrooms for men, but it's not an overnight shelter.

With these temperatures, several of their most popular items are often not returned.

“This time of year, we find that it’s hard to keep the washcloths in supply,” Director Maria Price said. “They’ll douse it in cool water in a water fountain place and then wrap it over and put it on the back of their necks. I don’t mind one bit. It’s one of the best ways for management for this kind of heat.”

In the hot summer months, the shelters still looks for donations, especially lip balm that contains sunscreen, baseball caps and socks.

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