Written By Julia Kirchner
The state of Kentucky currently has over 4,000 homeless citizens, either living in shelters or in the streets.
There are homeless shelters all over Louisville, so it may be surprising that so many people are still left to sleep in the cold. However, overcrowding in shelters is a huge issue in Kentucky. Shelters also have rules that often cause them to turn people away. Since there is not enough room to house everyone, anyone who abuses drugs or alcohol is turned away. Nonetheless, shelters will allow anyone to come in during winter storms and periods where temperatures are dangerously low.
“The shelters will put out a white flag if the temperatures are at freezing. Anyone can come in. Other people make fires and hang out together under an overpass,” said Health Science Academy Teacher Erin Ferguson.
Being without a home is always difficult, but the cold Kentucky weather makes the winter months a very challenging time for the homeless population. The frigid temperatures are uncomfortable for anyone to stay in for long, but there are some people who have no way to get out.
“They can freeze to death. If they have no other options, some sleep inside tents to keep snow and rain off of them,” said Ferguson.
So far this winter, Louisville has already seen multiple people hospitalized and even some casualties due to the weather. PRP’s Future Health Professionals (HOSA) decided to start a coat and winter clothing drive so that the club could donate clothes to people around the city struggling to stay warm.
“HOSA is trying to help Louisville’s homeless population,” said Junior Ashley Nine. “No one should have to suffer in the cold when there are people who have clothes that could help them.”