Over 400 homeless people slept in shelters throughout Evansville Monday night, with the CK Newsome Community Center housing 30 of them.
And it is the Center’s first time being used in such a way -- but necessary -- having three times the capacity the United Caring Services building can usually provide.
"Given our averages, we knew our space would not be big enough, even minimally,” said Jason Emmerson, executive director with United Caring Services. “So, we moved here and we are thankful to have this location."
In addition to making sure the homeless have a place to sleep for the night -- United Caring Services also provides self-isolation spaces for those who have contracted COVID-19 -- by renting out hotel rooms.
“There is a young woman who is at a local hospital right now that we’re evaluating for isolation,” said Timothy Weir, administrator with the Vanderburgh County Commission on Homelessness For Evansville and Vanderburgh County. “So, the demand is increasing as the number of cases increase.”
A big concern is that those homeless numbers will rise over the next few months as government programs end.
"--the CDC Eviction moratorium and the unemployment assistance that many have received this year,” Weird said. “So some people may have back rent for two or three months. And you know, that's going to be due at that time. So we're expecting to see an increase in homelessness if people face eviction."
"As the cold continues and that kind of gets into your bones -- regardless of where you might be staying we're prepared for those numbers to increase,” Emmerson said.
For anyone experiencing homelessness for the first time, Aurora can help with food and rent assistance programs.
A white flag will be raised outside of the CK Newsome Community Center and the United Caring Services building downtown by noon the day shelter is available for the night.