Scottsville man opens building on his property for those needing to get out of the cold

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SCOTTSVILLE, Ky. (WBKO) -- A Scottsville man is transforming his auction house into a makeshift shelter for people in need of a warm room, some food, and a place to sleep after freezing temperatures the last few days.

Jerry Whitney says he got the idea on New Year's Eve as he was sitting inside, looking out at the building behind his house, knowing he could open the doors to the community.

"When I first got the idea, you know your body says you've got so many other things going on, so many irons in the fire. Your body says no, no, no, but your heart says yeah, this needs to be done," he says.

"You've got people here and with the temperatures like they were, they could've frozen to death," he adds, looking around him at the cots on the floor, and people eating and sleeping. He says so far three people have come to the auction house to stay, and he's expecting more.

"I got to thinking about all the people that I've actually encountered over the past year or two years that didn't have a place to go. They're staying in abandoned buildings and begging for food at McDonald's and nobody should ever have to beg for food," he adds, going to to describe his childhood, saying he was raised by a single mother taking care of eight kids in the house.

Whitney says, "A lot of people out there, they've never had to choose. Do I pay my light bill? Do I pay my car payment? Or do I get my kids some clothes and food? They've never had to make that decision, and I've had to make that decision before."

Whitney says he's leaving the door open for anyone who needs a place to stay.

He says people have questioned his trust of others, leaving his building open all night long, but Whitney says, "It doesn't matter. I just don't want anybody freezing."

Even while 13 News was there on Wednesday, church groups were coming by to drop off food for those staying at Whitney's auction house. It's located at 512 East Walnut Street in Scottsville.

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