10/31/19 by Megan DeVinti
A freeze warning is in effect for most of the Tri-State.
“We take for granted being warm and comfortable or even being able to get warm and comfortable,” says Jason Emmerson, United Caring Services Executive Director.
Bitter cold temperatures into the night means white flags are up for people who usually sleep outside throughout the Tri-State.
“When temperatures drop below freezing for several hours as it will tonight, tomorrow night, the next night, United Caring Services converts our day shelter into what we call white flag,” says Emmerson. “It’s when we put out mats and we open the doors for even more people to come in to seek shelter.”
For a majority of the Tri-State, a freeze warning is in effect, and when factoring in wind chills, temperatures feel more like low twenties.
When the wind whips and temperatures dip, community organizations like UCS gets busy identifying and offering resources to people who have no place to go.
“So instead of people sleeping in cars, or on the street, or in an abandoned building, where they may be comfortable, or in a camp, maybe it starts to get a little cold and they come in and just spend the night, sleep on a mat, and then go,” says Emmerson.
According to the Commission on Homelessness, there are more than 400 homeless people in Vanderburgh County on a given night.
Officials say they anticipate several people to stay overnight.
Getting people back on their feet is the ultimate goal of many organizations, but on a bitter cold night like Thursday, it’s about serving the immediate need.
“Being unconditional is a difficult thing for people to do, but we don’t want the condition of weather to keep somebody from being safe and feeling secure,” says Emmerson.
In the River City, the Evansville Rescue Mission will also open its doors due to the freezing temperatures.
Other organizations in Owensboro will also be open.