Our White or Red Flag Programs are seasonal programs that offer additional emergency shelter for men, women, and children. It is a unique and incredibly important program in our community. The program started in the winter of 2009-10 in partnership with the Pigeon Township Trustee’s Office.
How/when is White/Red Flag called?
- When the temperatures are going to be below 32 degrees for 3 consecutive hours overnight.
- On any evening following a day when there has been a Heat Advisory or Excessive Heat Warning issued by the National Weather Service for Vanderburgh County and temperatures do not cool below 80 degrees for more than 3 consecutive hours overnight.
What happens to allow White/Red flag to happen?
This program happens in the Day Shelter (at night) and UCS staff typically determines whether or not there will be White/Red Flag by 12:00 pm (Noon). White/Red Flag hours are typically from the time when we are able to convert the Day Shelter (by) 7:00 pm – 6:00 am. To set up, we move and stack all of the tables and chairs in the Day Shelter and put sleep mats on the floor. The reverse is done in the morning to prepare for regular shelter operations.
Who can utilize White/Red flag?
Everyone is welcome at White/Red Flag. Men, women, children, drunk or sober are allowed to come in, out of the life-threatening elements, to spend the night in a safe place. Each guest is assigned a mat, a blanket, and provided a cup for water. This program is a matter of life and death — a matter of compassion and dignity. While all are welcome, standard shelter rules for behavior still apply and disruptive guests may be asked to leave. No outside food or drink is allowed in the shelter. Restroom services (but no showers or laundry) are available.
How has COVID-19 affected White Flag?
The pandemic has really affected White Flag because of the needed social distancing precautions and the limited space we have in our Day Shelter. Over the past four years, the average daily use of White Flag has increased 33% to 34 people a night and the peak numbers have increased as well. At those peak times (65 people), our space is at capacity. With social distancing precautions in place, we would not be able to shelter more than 30 people in White Flag which is below last year’s estimated nightly average. For 2020 – 2021, we will rally the community, inspire and acquire more program partners, a larger location, greater funding, more supplies, and increased staff coverage.
UPDATE: UCS will conduct our White Flag program at CK Newsome Center this year in partnership with the city of Evansville, Evansville Rescue Mission, and Pigeon Township. Read the full 11/12/20 press release HERE. We plan to be ready for operation by Saturday 11/21/2020 assuming supplies and staffing are adequate. Thank you for your support. White Flag in 2020, saw another yearly use increase over the previous year of 12%.
This program is made possible every year by the generous support of the Pigeon Township Trustee’s Office.
Bed/nights of additional emergency shelter provided in 2020
were helped, on average, each night during white flag in 2020