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Frigid Temperatures Have Shelters Offering Respite Earlier Than Ususal

Lisa Autry

With light snowfall and below freezing temperatures in much of Kentucky, some homeless shelters are welcoming guests early in the season.

Owensboro and Daviess County are under a White Flag designation through tomorrow, which allows the homeless to spend the night at a warming shelter and get a hot meal. 

Andy Ball heads the Daviess County Emergency Management Agency.  He says the program runs Nov. 1-Mar. 31, but demand typically doesn't come this early.

“This is earlier than we’ve seen in past years," Ball stated. "Usually we don’t see anything until late November, early December.”

A White Flag event is declared when temperatures drop to 15 degrees or below. 

St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter in Owensboro serves  is open to men, women, and children from 7:00 p.m to 8:00 a.m, and meals are provided at the Daniel Pitino Shelter about a block away. 

Free transportation to the shelters is also provided by Owensboro Transit System. 

The non-profit Room in the Inn, which servers Bowling Green and Warren County, says it has received numerous calls from people seeking respite from the elements, but the shelter doesn't open until Friday, Nov. 15.  A White Flag emergency shelter is available at the Salvation Army.

From Nov. to Mar., Room In the Inn partners with churches to open their doors when more traditional shelters are full.

According to statewide count of the homeless called K-Count, there were 4,079 people in shelters, transitional housing, or unsheltered as of January 2019.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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