Low barrier shelter offers refuge, second chance for many homeless this holiday

Low barrier shelter offers refuge, second chance for many homeless this holiday
Hot food and coffee, as well as hygiene products are provided at the shelter.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Homeless men and women out on the streets in Louisville are getting an early Christmas gift today.

Wayside Christian Mission's new low barrier shelter opened at 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve. The shelter allows for couples to come together to the shelter, they also allow those with pets to come and stay. The shelter will allow those who use drugs and alcohol, but not the drugs themselves, to stay at the shelter. And those who have been barred before from the shelter will be given a second chance.

They've got food, hot coffee, hygiene supplies and new hats, supplying those in need something that fits this season of giving.

“I think it’s very needed when you see all the folks just sleeping on the sidewalks,” Nina Moseley, Chief Operations Officer for Wayside Christian Mission, said. “You know, this is Louisville. We need to get together and do something, make our folks welcome and give them the dignity they deserve as human beings to get up off the sidewalk and come in and be safe.”

Right away people started filtering in to get away from the cold.

The shelter opened on Christmas Eve and filled quickly with people seeking food and shelter.
The shelter opened on Christmas Eve and filled quickly with people seeking food and shelter.

Moseley said the low barrier shelter is a new concept and one they plan to keep open through the winter.

Ginger Martin lives in a tent by choice. Monday morning, she and her dog Booty are spending their time inside the low barrier shelter as a way to encourage those she knows within the homeless community to come try out the new shelter and get warm in the dangerous cold.

She said for those addicted to drugs or alcohol or those with mental issues, the cold can be a powerful problem but this new shelter can help combat that.

All my friends up underneath this viaduct, they all walk this with me. And they're all coming in, if I have to drag them in here. So, they've got their friend in here and I'm not going to stop until this stuff stops," said Ginger Martin, homeless advocate.

Martin said she is working with city leaders and different shelters around town to unify the city's response to homelessness, helping provide better care for those in need.

Wayside Christian Mission is always in need of supplies, like toilet paper or towels. Volunteers are regularly needed at the shelter, as well. Click here to find out more about how to volunteer or to donate online.

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