Cold weather leads to more So. Indiana White Flag Program nights

Cold weather leads to more So. Indiana White Flag Program nights
Inside a shelter for white flag night. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Inside a shelter for white flag night. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - For the second year, The Homeless Coalition of Southern Indiana partnered with groups throughout the community to host white flag nights.

White flag nights are called when temperatures are 35 degrees or lower for a 4 hour stretch.

During cold weather, shelter is provided for the homeless. Meals are provided along with blankets and a cot.

"It really changes your perceptions of things when you look at people who have been out for 12 hours and it's been 5 degrees outside," Pastor John Manzo said.

Pastor Manzo said White Flag nights in Southern Indiana run from November to April. Last season there were 40 total white flag nights. Half way through this season and there has been 30 white flag nights.

"There are more people and more nights," Stumler said.

Participants must have an ID to stay and the shelter has a time limit of 12 hours. Volunteers like Stumler said that's the hardest part.

"In the morning at 7 o'clock we have to close and they have to leave," Stumler said. "That is always very difficult for me. We have given them a warm place to stay for the night and then we have to kick them out to the cold cruel world."

This year one host said the demand is up.

"This year we have been slammed," Lane Stumler said.

Stumler helped connect his church, St. Marks, with the Homeless Coalition of Southern Indiana.

Since the White Flag Program started in 2016 in Southern Indiana, St. Marks is just one group to host a night at the Salvation Army of Southern Indiana.

The White Flag Shelter is located at 2300 Green Valley Road. The hours of operation are 7:00 PM-7:00 AM. Guests must arrive by 10:00 PM. Guests can get a free ride to and from the shelter through TARC. The shelter is at the gym at the Salvation Army New Albany Campus. Showers are available.

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