When cold weather causes communities to open extra overnight space for the homeless, Daviess County will have a new ‘white flag’ shelter in place.
Keeping homeless individuals safe and warm when the temperature gets dangerously cold requires an additional layer of safety during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Owensboro Christian Church will open its doors on white flag nights under an agreement with Daviess County Fiscal Court and the city of Owensboro.
Daviess County Deputy Director of Emergency Management John Clouse said the church is a large facility that will have the necessary space to serve as the region’s new white flag shelter.
“They have graciously offered up some space for us that allows us to house individuals or small family units for the night," said Clouse. "And Heaven forbid, that we should have any folks that would need to be isolated for illness purposes, we do have that capability there as well.”
Existing shelters will continue to accept as many people as possible during cold temperatures, and Owensboro Christian Church will serve as the overflow shelter on white flag nights.
“I think the most that have ever needed white flag housing in the years that we’ve been doing this have been maybe 10 to 12, and that was only once or twice," said Clouse. "When the white flag event is declared, the current shelters expand their normal intake.”
St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter was previously used for ‘white flag’ nights, but it’s not able to continue serving as the overflow shelter due to additional space needed for social distancing and suspending volunteers during the pandemic.