All this week, temperatures have been dipping below zero and the snow has been piling up. Kids have been out of school for days and road conditions are dangerous for everyone. After Governor Beshear a state of emergency, residents have been staying indoors in order to avoid being exposed to frigid temperatures and dangerous travel conditions.
Although, not everyone is lucky enough to have a home to cuddle up in and hide away from the fierce winter weather. While long-term homelessness is rare, there are many people who have been left out in the cold winter temperatures and snow. Being outside for extended periods of time in this weather is extremely dangerous.
Staffs from homeless shelters in the Jefferson County and Southern Indiana areas have been going around to the homeless and offering them food, beverages, sleeping bags, and rides to local shelters to stay the night. Despite the harsh conditions, a lot of people refuse to go with them and stay outdoors. The Samaritan Patrol began in 1989 and goes around to check on the homeless population on days of extreme weather conditions.
The Samaritan Patrol offers rides to homeless shelters, sleeping bags, food and coffee, and wellness checks to look for any illnesses. Some choose to come with them while others don’t, each having their own personal reasons as to why they choose not to come with them. The shelters, such as Wayside Christian Mission, try to make room for the homeless brought in by the Samaritan Patrol on nights where the temperatures drop below freezing.
Shelters only have a specific amount of people they can accept and a certain amount of beds they can fill, but on nights with dangerous temperatures, like the ones Louisville has been experiencing, they bring out extra mattresses for more people. While most residents of Louisville are safely sleeping in their heated homes, it’s good to remember that not everyone gets to go home to their warm beds. Some people have to live in the bitter snow and below zero temperatures.
Article by E. Darnell