Cold Night Out shelter still active

The Jackson County Cold Night Out Shelter is up and running again through Feb. 26.

The shelter was supposed to start back up Dec. 5 for its third season, but there weren’t enough host sites, Director Sondra Gentry said.

The shelter reopened Jan. 4 and is serving a capacity of up to eight people a night, said Tyler Henkle, a Cold Night Out volunteer board member.

“The capacity is based on a number of COVID-19 precautions and protocols we are trying to follow to the best of our ability, which has limited the amount of people we can have in,” Henkle said.

He said the shelter has not been full yet this month.

“Since reopening, I think the most we’ve had at one time overnight is six,” Henkle said. “We’ve just kind of noticed there hasn’t been a whole lot of folks looking to access, and there could be many different reasons for that.”

He said the organization — formed in the winter of 2018-19 — wants the public to know the shelter is still active, so if anyone is looking for shelter, they do intake from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at The Alley at First Baptist Church, 505 Community Drive. Seymour.

“On Saturday and Sunday, we do not have a location for intake, so we do not take any new folks Saturday or Sunday,” he said. “The people who are already in as of Friday, their spots are reserved, so they can come back Saturday and Sunday. We have arrangements for picking them up at a location in town.”

COVID-19 policies had to be in place for the shelter to open. The issues that had to be addressed included air ventilation, masks for guests, social distancing, temperatures taken at intake, shields and masks for intake, masks for volunteers, additional cleaning procedures and limiting guests to one bag of belongings.

Evangelist David Terry with Genesis Church of Seymour also is a volunteer board member.

He said Bethel Community Church, Seymour Harvest Church and Cornerstone Community Church are serving as host sites in Seymour with Reddington Christian Church volunteering with Bethel.

The host site typically changes to a different church from week to week. After signing in and eating a meal at the intake site, guests are transported to the host church, where they stay from 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Along with receiving shelter, the guests set goals for themselves of what they would like to accomplish, including finding a place to live, creating a budget, getting a job and pursuing education.

“We have a counselor one night a week that works with the guests on goal planning, and we follow up on that goal planning,” Terry said. “We also offer medical assistance and medicines if needed.”

He said a lot of homeless people don’t have identifications, which is necessary when they’re looking for jobs, so the shelter helps them acquire those.

“Many people that work in factories today require steel-toe shoes, and if they don’t have them, we will try to help them purchase those shoes,” Terry said.

Last winter, guests also received assistance in the form of car transportation, bus passes, hotel housing and haircuts.

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To make a donation to the Jackson County Cold Night Out Shelter, the office address is 350 Calvin Blvd., Seymour, IN 47274.

Anyone interested in volunteering, whether it would be to staff the shelter for a shift, multiple shifts or throughout the season, can contact a staff member through their Facebook page,

For those seeking assistance, call 812-519-3438.