From the City of Madison

11:30 a.m. Saturday

The City of Madison will continue to open the Comfort Station at 221 W. Main St. as a Warming Shelter the nights of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, November 9-11, from 10pm – 8am.  Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing so this is an effort to provide a warm shelter for those who need a place to stay through these nights.  Please contact 812-265-3347 to arrange a ride or to report someone in need.   From Mayor Bob Courtney- “Making the comfort station available provides critical warmth for those in need.  While this is just a temporary solution, I ask for the community’s support in providing this resource and thank you in advance for helping us help others.”

From the City of Madison

4:16 p.m. Friday

The City of Madison will open the Comfort Station at 221 W. Main St. as a warming shelter tonight, Friday, Nov. 8th from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 9. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing tonight so this is an effort to provide a warm shelter for those who need a place to stay through the night. Please contact 812-265-3347 to arrange a ride or to report someone in need.

Lack of shelters leaves homeless no relief from cold.  11/8/2019 3:17 PM

It was in the low 20s Thursday night and is expected to be even colder some nights next week.

But, for the first time in many years, there is not expected to be an overnight warming shelter at The Salvation Army offices, or, at the moment, anywhere else in the area.

Dave Adams, a Madison volunteer who works on various initiatives to help veterans and the homeless, said he already has received calls from people on the streets without shelter asking where shelter might be available as winter temperatures begin.

After several years of providing what are known as overnight warming stations, the Salvation Army has found itself in a position where it is unable to open its doors as a shelter right now. Lt. Justin Hartley, who heads the Army office here, said the organization still is working with its headquarters to set up in the future for emergency shelter from the cold, but a plan is not ready now and he does not know when it might be.

The loss of the Salvation Army warming station, which opened in previous years when temperatures dropped below 32 degrees before 4 p.m., caught both city and county officials by surprise.

Troy Morgan, the Emergency Management Agency director for Jefferson County, took the issue before the county commission meeting Thursday night, explaining that while there is no immediate plan, he wanted to provide numbers and contacts for the short-term. Morgan expressed concern that help be available to someone in need, but he also emphasized that it would not be good for the 911 emergency switchboard to be left fielding calls.

Madison Mayor Bob Courtney, who was out of the office Friday, but was contacted by phone by his staff, also did not know the Army was not planning to have the warming center. Courtney had his staff set up a meeting Tuesday for people from several different areas of the community to try to find a solution until the Army can re-open the warming shelter.

The invitation to the meeting said to “discuss options available to offer a warming shelter to our citizens in need this winter. The cold has arrived, and we just discovered we are not equipped to open the Salvation Army Warming Shelter yet. We hope to rally and make this a priority since we are in dire need of this shelter.”

What options does that leave for people to come in from the cold?

Adams said he and other volunteers have helped three people find shelter outside the city in areas closer to where they have family. But, that was not an organized plan, he said, just an opportunity to help three people.

Major Ben McKay of the Madison Police Department said police officers have received blankets courtesy of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and are carrying those blankets in their cars. He encouraged anyone without shelter and in the cold to stop a police officer or go to police headquarters and ask for a blanket.

Historically, the Army has handled the task and received help from some area churches when the numbers were too great. But, as of Friday morning, no churches had offered shelters.

Adams noted that one of the problems is a lack of volunteer help right now because several people who have been mainstays of the Salvation Army effort have relocated or are unable to volunteer right now.

Morgan asked any organizations or groups in the community able to help to contact him and said he will work out details with them. He also will attend the Tuesday meeting at City Hall.

Where to call for help

Non-emergency numbers to call:

City of Madison


Sheriff’s Department


Emergency Management


*Both are 24-hour numbers