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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff, Wire Reports

Posted: Monday, December 31, 2018 04:29 PM

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White Flag At Knox Area Rescue Ministries Indicates Dangerous Temps Outside, Warning to Homeless To Seek Shelter

 The white flag at Knox Area Rescue Ministries indicates dangerous temperatures. It doesn't mean anybody can go inside, there are still rules. The flag tells the homeless they need to get out of the cold somehow.

"The wind just bites right through your skin it tends to be more exhausting to walk a lot of miles from one place to the next to try to seek shelter," said Brenda Slovick, who is staying at KARM

"There are many people in the homeless community who just don't want to come inside so you give them a signal to say whatever your preferences are you need to take shelter," said Sue Renfro, Director of Marketing and Communications at KARM.

KARM serves three meals a day and they do offer the homeless a warm place to stay between meals.

"We are allowing people to stay in our chapel and not have to be outside," said Renfro

"This place gets us in there right away they really never have a problem with housing us, it's really nice," said Slovick.

Normally KARM shelters anywhere from 200-400 people, but during dangerous temperatures they can make room for more.

"We will accommodate with mats on the floor or any way that they can," said Renfro. "I don't think we've ever reached a place that we weren't able to use mats and things inside based on the space that we have."

Even though the shelter is available, many people still don't take advantage. They choose to stay outside.

"You cant force a person to be in a house, they choose to be out in the streets," said Damon Gatti, staying at KARM