Metro government, others prepare to protect homeless from extreme cold

City, homeless brace for below-zero temperatures this week

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A bitter cold front could bring wind chills as low as 20 degrees below zero to WAVE Country over the next few days.

As the temperature plummets, the conditions could become deadly for those living on the streets. Monday, just before the cold snap, there were still people under the overpass near the intersection of Jefferson and Preston Streets in downtown Louisville.

Amanda Mills is packing her car full of supplies to help the homeless.
Amanda Mills is packing her car full of supplies to help the homeless. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Meanwhile, a handful of trunks across Jefferson County were being packed tightly. The supplies inside may be the first line of defense for people who are homeless as the temperature drops.

“We have people coming out of the woodwork that maybe don’t typically ask for help,” Amanda Mills, who runs a homeless outreach group called the Southend Street Angels, said.

Mills, who has been homeless herself, will be out Tuesday morning doing cold checks, handing out food and transporting people to shelters.

Others are working to fill that gap too. Donny Green was prepping Monday. He will also be driving around, with the support of some friends, to help the homeless when the weather gets dangerous.

“You’re also fighting the weather right now too,” Green said. “So, yeah, this is definitely life or death. People will freeze to death.”

Green said that low-barrier shelters are a fix, but only temporary. He would like to see more permanent housing for the homeless.

Louisville's low-barrier homeless shelter will be able to accommodate many people during the White Flag alert.
Louisville's low-barrier homeless shelter will be able to accommodate many people during the White Flag alert. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said white flag conditions will be in effect and that the low-barrier shelter in the city has already been tested by similar weather this year.

“So that supply was tested, if you will, and everybody responded really well to that,” Fischer said. “We’ve got the spaces, we just want to make sure everybody is coming inside.”

That’s something everyone -- from individuals helping out, to Metro Government -- wants to see as the wind chill gets deadly.

“When you’re homeless, you feel like people forget about you,” Mills said. “I just want everybody to know that they’re somebody and we love them.”

Both Mills and Green are currently in need of hats, gloves, food, heating supplies and sleeping bags among, other items.

Donations to help Green can be dropped off at Highland Coffee. An Amazon Wish List has been set up on the Southend Street Angels Facebook page.

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