Cold Temperatures Keep Local Shelter Busy

By: Melissa Warren Email
By: Melissa Warren Email

"If it gets really really cold and they don't let people come in, they could find them dead.  If you sleep under a bridge, you could freeze to death out there.  It doesn't take long, let me tell you, it doesn't take long, but if it's not cold, they want you to go out and try to find a job... take care of your business, whatever that entails, which is good because otherwise people would probably never do it," said Berard.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The people who feel the worst impact of cold weather are the ones with no homes.

This isn't Normand Berard's first shelter experience or first time living out in the cold.

"I was in Georgetown and they had trouble at the shelter, then I had to go from there to Frankfort's shelter. There wasn't no work. Then a friend of mine said there was work down here, so we came down to Bowling Green, and we found this shelter here, and that's how I ended up here. Actually, I found a job as a matter of fact," said shelter client Normand Berard.

The shelter is a 30 day emergency shelter, and finding jobs and a place to live is something they work with their clients on doing.

"Within that 30 days, we help people acquire jobs... employment, housing... childcare if they want to go back to school," said Salvation Army Director of Social Services Heather Gordon.

If that 30 days is not enough time to do that, they have programs up to six months, and on nights like these, when it's below 32 degrees, they wont turn away anyone.

"If it gets really really cold and they don't let people come in, they could find them dead. If you sleep under a bridge, you could freeze to death out there. It doesn't take long, let me tell you, it doesn't take long, but if it's not cold, they want you to go out and try to find a job... take care of your business, whatever that entails, which is good because otherwise people would probably never do it," said Berard.

The facility has 70 beds, but Gordon says this time of year, they can have far more people than that.

"Last year this time, we literally had men scattered down our hall, into our multipurpose room, and into our cafeteria. Anywhere basically that we can get them because our goal is not to turn anyone away, especially when it's cold outside 32 or below," said Gordon.

Gordon says they will bring out cots and find any way they can to keep people out of the cold. She says the shelter provides its clients with food, clothing, toiletries, and blankets while they are there. On days like today when the temperature never reaches above freezing, those with nowhere to go, are allowed to stay at the shelter all day.


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