Blown transformer causes Salvation Army service disruption


by Brooke Hasch

Posted on January 25, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 26 at 12:51 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Louisville's homeless community is down a white flag shelter Saturday night after a blown transformer knocked out the heat inside the Salvation Army around 1 p.m.

It caused the shelter to turn away about 400 people looking for a meal and for a warm place to stay. Electric crews were able to fix the problem by 10 p.m. Saturday. However, due to the late hour, the shelter will remain closed until Sunday morning.

"You're talking about 125 beds in all, that we have nobody in tonight as a result," David Yarmuth, with the Salvation Army said.

Staff decided to relocate those who wished to stay warm at other facilities, including Wayside Christian Mission.

"They have some capacity to help with shelter, with feeding. Their white flag area is open. We've even provided some extra mattresses to Wayside to help alleviate the load that's certainly going to fall on them tonight," Yarmuth said.

However, some families who live within the Salvation Army's Single Parent Transitional Housing decided to stay and were provided with extra blankets, which coincidentally took place on the very night hundreds of UofL students planned to donate more than two thousand blankets to the organization.

"There's no snow days for the homeless and the students really rallied around that, understanding that these blankets are going to be used immediately which is really powerful,"  Trevor Joelson, the president of Wrap Up America said.

An event months in the making, the second annual Wrap Up America took place inside the Salvation Army's gym, where multiple Greek communities and the Baptist Campus Ministry took part in contests to see who could build the better fort with the blankets they collected.

"Then, when we found out the heat was out of the facility, they're going right upstairs and that's so special," Joelson said.

The shelter plans to reopen during the 6’oclock hour for Sunday breakfast.